Addressing gender inequality among girls and women

Role of social work in the Girl Power Programme in Zambia

Authored by: Michelo Chilwalo , Joseph Mumba Zulu , Lazarus Mwale

The Handbook of Social Work and Social Development in Africa

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472468512
eBook ISBN: 9781315557359
Adobe ISBN: 9781317029380


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Social workers champion the cause of vulnerable and oppressed groups in society and the Girl Power Programme (GPP) in Zambia discussed in this chapter provides a practical example of the role they play in championing girls’ and women’s rights. In light of the recognised need for structural interventions to confront poverty and oppression, the chapter begins with an examination of structural social work theory’s explanation of the barriers preventing women from playing an active role in achieving their full potential in society. Given that structural social work is inherently rights-based, it then discusses human rights, arguing that – in a society such as Zambia, where gender inequality is entrenched – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations, 1948) provides a moral framework that legitimises structural social work’s social justice perspective and empowerment-based practice. The chapter then provides a detailed discussion of the activities of the GPP and the structural interventions it employs to reduce violence against girls and women, facilitate their socioeconomic empowerment, and enhance their sociopolitical participation. It ends with an examination of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on gender equality and progress towards achieving this goal.

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