The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has said despite the enactment of the Gender Equality Act in 2013, there are still high levels of gender-insensitivity in the private sector.
MHRC Gender and women rights Director Michael Kakatela disclosed this during a workshop for the private sector on the enforcement of the gender equality Act on Tuesday.
Kakatela said violations of gender-related human rights, issues of administrative justice and other human rights are rampant in the sector.
“The commission is cognizant of the constitutional guarantees of equality before the law and prohibition of discrimination based on sex or gender as stipulated in the constitution of the country.
“Generally, there is lack of awareness and understanding of gender-related laws and the ineffective utilization of the same,” he said.
In 2013, the commission with support from UNFPA embarked on a project aimed at establishing an ‘implementation and monitoring plan on the enforcement of the Gender Equality Act.’
The goal of the plan is to promote gender equality and to empower both men and women to act as equal partners in eliminating gender inequality in Malawi.
“We all need to accelerate, institutionalize and better coordinate our efforts to advance gender equality and especially women’s inclusion in gender activities and decision-making institutions and to protect them
from gender based violence and ensure equal access to services,” said Kakatela.
He called upon the private sector to strengthen legal and policy environment and facilitating the implementation of programs for the attainment of gender equality in the country.
Among other things, the Act emphasizes on the government to put up measures to ensure that employers develop and implement appropriate sexual harassment policies and that appointing officers shall appoint
no less than 40 percent and no more than 60 percent of either sex.