The role of the reformed church in Zambia in promoting gender equality: A case of Lilanda and Garden house congregations in Lusaka district

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Njobvu, Dickson
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The University of Zambia
The study investigated the role that the Reformed Church in Zambia (RCZ) played in promoting gender equality in Lusaka District particularly in Lilanda and Garden House Congregations. The study investigated the measures put in place by the RCZ in the fight against gender inequality. It also investigated the challenges faced by the Church in this fight. The study used a case study design that involved the use of qualitative methods. The study had a sample size of 28 participants who were all drawn from the Congregations in Lusaka and comprised of the Reverends and their spouses, 2 Church treasurers, 2 Church secretaries, 2 board members, 6 youths, 6 men and 6 women who were all members of the RCZ. The participants were selected using purposive sampling method and the data was collected using an interview guide and a Focus Group Discussion guide. The data collected was analyzed thematically. The findings of the study revealed that the RCZ played a significant role in the fight against gender inequality in Zambia. For instance, the study revealed that the RCZ had counselling officers responsible for counselling young couples and those who about to get married. The study also established that RCZ introduced women‟s desk at the Synod office responsible for women‟s agendas. The study also revealed that the RCZ combated gender inequality mainly through Sunday preachings and teachings. The study further revealed that RCZ faced some challenges in their fight against gender inequality and among the challenges identified in this role included spouses` affiliation to different Church denominations, lack of a clear policy on gender equality and financial constraints. Finally, the study concluded that though the RCZ played a significant role in the fight against gender inequality in Zambia, it concentrated much at the Congregational level other than the community or country level. This limitation was partly attributed to the financial challenges the Church encountered as well as cultural practices that hindered women from contesting in leadership positions. In this regard, some of the recommendations of the study are that the RCZ should formulate a clear policy on gender equality in order to make the fight against inequality be supported by the policy and also that the RCZ needs to provide funding to the women‟s desk responsible for women agendas in order to improve its delivery of services to the people.
Reformed church Zambia--gender inequality