Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Mary Thom Navicha has launched the Malawi Chapter of African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) with an assuarance that government has put in place strong measures to ensure social inclusion and gender equality standards are mainstreamed in all development frameworks.
She made the remarks on Monday, March 2, 2020 when she officially launched the network in Lilongwe.
Navicha said government has also enacted several gender related laws to deal with the challenges faced by women and girls.
“In 2017, the Constitution was amended to harmonize the child age and marriage age at 18 years of age. The idea was to criminalize child marriages in all its forms.
“The Land Act was also reviewed in 2017 to increase women’s access, control and ownership of land, which is a key productive asset,” she informed the guests, who included Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Aisha Mambo, Lilongwe City Mayor, Councillor Juliana Kaduya and Deputy Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Grace Kwelepete.
Others were Secretary for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Erica Maganga, German Ambassador, Jurgen Borsch, Norwegian Ambassador, Steinar Egil Hagen and Clara Anyangwe, UN Women Representative in Malawi.
The minister said despite these efforts, women and girls remain victims of violence and exclusion, and that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS “remains unacceptably high among women and girls”.
“We all have witnessed the attacks on persons with albinism and the torching of elderly men and women accused of being witches. Although Parliament passed legislation to protect these groups, they continue to live in fear of losing their lives to violent crimes for their body parts and false accusations,” said the minister.
She observed that gender-based violence also remains a huge challenge, citing examples where women have been stripped naked in the streets; women killed by intimate partners; women beaten by fellow women; and children burnt by their parents and guardians on trivial matters.
The Minister appealed to church leaders, women in public and private sectors, MPs and councillors to work together to address these evil acts.
Navicha said AWLN is mobilising women-leaders in Africa to be agents of change. She noted the network aims to enhance the quality of women leadership to act as a pillar of development, peace and transformation of Africa.
“The network brings together women leaders to advocate for the realisation of Agenda 2063, ‘The Africa We Want, which envisions an inclusive and people-centred Africa; where women and girls have equal opportunities just like men and boys.
“The Malawi Chapter is expected to strengthen legal, policy and programme implementation, which promote gender equality in leadership, economy, social and cultural life,” she said.
Navicha said she has recommended that the Chapter should prioritise key areas including women in rural areas including those in leadership such as traditional leaders; women in leadership positions in the political sphere, at local and national levels such as ministers, MPs, councillors, ambassadors, judges, leaders of political parties, governors, mayors and women leaders in the academia.
Also to be included will be women in civil service, public administration, judiciary, electoral management bodies; women leaders in the private and business sector both big and small companies and entrepreneurs; and women leaders in civil society.
“I am convinced that the Malawi Chapter will be key to the realization of gender equality as enshrined in the Constitution, gender related laws, policies, strategies and programmes, which the His Excellency, President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika and his government are implementing,” said the minister.
She expressed the hope that the Malawi Chapter shall bring the nation together to address the numerous challenges that women, girls, the elderly, the persons with disabilities and children face.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :