“I am pleased and honoured to welcome you to the British High Commission this morning. My name is Lucy Joyce and I am the Acting High Commissioner. I’m personally delighted to be hosting this event as one of my first events in Lusaka as I only arrived two days ago. This event is part of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s celebration of a Week of Women, from 27-30 October, a series of events around the glove that focus on women’s empowerment.
“Women’s empowerment cuts across much of the work that we do – from the macro level, promoting human rights and democratic values across the world and encouraging sustainable economies overseas with which to do business; to the micro level closer to home, by ensuring that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is a fair and equitable place to work.
“Female participation in political and economic spheres is a critical yet largely undervalued resource. Encouraging the next generation of women to engage with traditionally male-dominated institutions, organisations and structures could have significant impact on peacebuilding, stability and prosperity in fragile, developing and mature economies alike
“The UK is hosting a series of activities to celebrate the achievements of women and enhance the participation of women and girls across political and economic spheres as one way of delivering increased security and prosperity at local, national, regional and global levels.
“This event brings together a number of prominent Zambian women - you - to talk about your experiences and showcase your achievements.
“Also here this morning I know we have several former Chevening and Commonwealth students, members of our alumni, so a special welcome to you all too. For those of you not familiar with these programmes, they are flagship programmes of scholarships which bring applicants who aspire to positions of high achievement and influence, to the UK to study for a year and learn about the UK and, we hope, on return to their countries to become Ambassadors for the UK and the UK-Zambia relationship. And we can see the success of this here today with these wonderful women. I would encourage you to apply yourselves and encourage others to do likewise.
“For many of us, just being here today is a considerable achievement. The successes we have seen in education, in rights and in overcoming discrimination through our lifetimes are all factors in this, and we also have to juggle busy home lives, raising families and keeping a home running as well as finding time for friends and activities.
“But that is why I am so grateful to see how many of you have made the time to come and join us this morning to celebrate the week of women. And it is why we have invited journalists to this event because we recognise the role of the media in helping raise the profile of women and publish stories that inspire women and girls from the success stories that will shared today.”