Newly-appointed Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is visiting Malawi on her first official three-day country mission to reinforce UN Women’s support in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment through collaboration with the government, civil society, private sector and UN system.
According to an official statement on her visit, Mlambo-Ngcuka will meet with various government and civil society representatives, UN agencies, business leaders and development partners to listen and discuss strategies to make greater progress.
“In all countries, advancing women’s and girls’ empowerment, education, and equality is vital for fighting poverty and for improving the health and well-being of all members of society,” she said ahead of her visit.
“I am coming to Malawi to support the good work that is underway and to reinforce strong partnerships and action across sectors and with grassroots women for gender equality. I look forward to meeting the people we work with, side by side every day, to strengthen collaboration for women’s and girls’ empowerment and economic and social progress.”
In Malawi, the former South African deputy president, will highlight strategic responses around key challenges affecting women’s human rights such as economic empowerment of rural women, elimination of violence against women and girls, and the urgent need to focus on girls’ education and raising the age of marriage.
Malawi has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, with half of girls being married before the age of 18, threatening their education, health and future prospects.
The focus overall will be on expanding joint programming within the UN system and with other key development partners, including women’s organisations in advancing equal opportunities for women and men, boys and girls in Malawi.
During the trip, Mlambo-Ngcuka will visit the Victim Support Units and see first-hand the work being done in the country to eliminate violence against women and girls. She will also meet with rural women farmers to focus on enhancing productivity and agricultural services for the many women farmers across the country.