Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Dr. Patricia Kaliati, on Monday literally knelt in paying homage to the old-time frontline women’s rights activists.
Kaliati was saluting Faustace Chirwa, Margaret Ali, Emmie Chanika, Emma Kaliya, Barbara Banda and Maggie Kathewera Banda, Mercy Timba, Jean Nkwanda, Reen Kachere and Cecilia who, from the early 1990s, led the battle for women empowerment in political and economic circles.
She told the multitude of people that attended the Beijing +25 national consultative meeting at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe that the activists inspired her to join politics where she has proven to be a force to reckon with.
“I want to thank you from the depth of my heart because you inspired most of us to gather courage to join politics – the sector we previously regarded as a preserve for the men. I am wishing you long life so that the new generation can learn more from you,” said Kaliati.
And turning to the business of the day, the minister said since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995, Malawi has made great milestones in the quest to achieve gender equality and women empowerment.
She cited the development of the national Gender Policy of 2000 and its subsequent one in 2016; the enactment of the Gender Related Laws namely: the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 2006; the Child Care, Protection and Justice Act of 2010; the Deceased Estates Act of 2011; the Gender Equality Act of 2013; the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act of 2015; and Trafficking in Persons Act of 2015; and the Disability Act, among others.
Kaliati further stated that another milestone the country has registered include the development and implementation of the National Platform for Action 1997; the National Strategy to end Gender Based Violence (2002 – 2006); the National Gender Programme (2004 – 2008); the National Plan of Action to Combat GBV (2016 – 2021), the National Action Plan for Economic Empowerment of Women (2016 – 2021), and the National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage (2018 – 2023) to facilitate implementation of the Policy and legal frameworks.
“The implementation of the legal and policy frameworks has resulted in increased awareness on women’s rights and the violation thereof; increased reporting of gender based violence incidents; substantial increase in female representation in Parliament, Local Government and in decision making positions and increase in enrolment of girls in schools and incorporation of gender issues in the school curriculum,” said Kaliati.
The minister added that the implementation of these frameworks also heralded the establishment of One Stop Centres in central hospitals, district hospitals and health centres across the country in order to provide comprehensive services to survivors of violence and Victim Support Units in police stations, units and posts to offer a range of services which include investigation, referrals, mediation, legal advice, psychosocial support, repatriation and rehabilitation of survivors, among others.
Kaliati said week beginning 14th December 2020, her ministry has embarked on a campaign against the continued ills committed against children.
She disclosed that they have issued a public letter condemning the sexual abuse of children to be read in all public and religious gatherings.
“The campaign runs for a period of one month up to 14th January, 2021. All organizations have been requested to join spreading the condemnation words against child sexual abuse. This, therefore, is a perfect gathering for the message to be taken far and wide,” said Kaliati.
The Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC) executive director, Emma Kaliya, commended Kaliati and other politicians, including Dr. Jessie Kabwila, for standing firm and resolute in defence of women empowerment in politics.
Kaliya assured the minister of the support of the civil society in advancing the rights of girls and women in Malawi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :