Veteran parliamentarian, Patricia Kaliati says Malawi is not doing well in the 50-50 agenda of promoting equal representation of women in decision making positions.
The former Minister of Gender made the observation in an exclusive interview.
Kaliati, who has maintained the Mulanje West Consitituency since 1999 in a political career that has seen her holding a number of cabinet positions in the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) governments has since attributed the development to what she has described as a pull-down-syndrome and
jealousy amongst women which is targeted at progressive women.
“If things are not going well in political parties in as far as promoting women into decision making positions it is because women are bussy pulling down each other. Men have been very supportive to the 50-50 cause yet we find other women being used to disapoint their fellow women’s political abitions by men,” said Kaliati adding,”If we are not doing well in the 50-50 agenda it is not because men are not supporting us but rather because we are busy pulling each other down as women”.
She said it was disapointing to note that while government with support from it development partners was heavily investing on women empowerment, some ‘mis-guided women’ were being used by men to frustrate political ambitions of fellow women.
However, Kaliati was quick to point out that despite the pull-down-syndrome, some women, especially the youthful generations was not doing well in politics because of the way they presented themselves to the electorolates during their campaign trail.
“When a woman aspires for an elected political position she has to realise that she is picking a public position that puts her at public scrutiny, hence the need for one to ensure that she behaves and carries herself modestly in her community,” she said.
According to the 2014 elections results, there was a drop in the number of women who made it to the national assembly in the 2014 elections as compared to 2009. According to statistics 42 women made it to parliament in 2009 while 32 women were elected as Members of Parliament in 2014.
And according to Gladys Thindwa of the 50-50 Campaign Management agency the decline in the numbers of women that made it to parliament in the 2014 elections is an issue that requires urgent attention.
“Ensuring that women have fair and equal representation in decision making positions is an on-going process. There has been an encrease in the numbers of women in parliament although we noted a decline in the figures in the last elections from 42 in 2009 to 32 in 2014,” said Thindwa.
And speaking in a phone interview, Joyce Chitsulo, Executive Director of Ndi Tsogolo Langa (NTL) a youth orgnisation that has been encouraging young women to take part in politics, said that political parties in the country lucked deriberate policies to ensure that more women are voted into parliament and other politically elected positions.
“Historically the role of women in politics has been reduced to that of dancers and praise singers for men in the country,” said Chitsulo who failed to make it to parliament in the 2014 elections.
Meanwhile the 50-50 campaign management agency is runing a campaign to ensure that more women are voted into decision making positions in next year’s tripartite elections. The campaign will be launced in Lilongwe on Thursday.