Malawi President says gender equality is earned, not passed on

President Mrs. Joyce Banda  says gender equality is earned and not passed on to an individual and as such Malawians, especially women, should strive to earn it by aiming high and empowering themselves.

President Banda made the challenge to women at Kamuzu Place in Lilongwe on Tuesday when she met the Malawi and South Africa Women Business Forum.

She said women need to aim high always and empower themselves economically for them to be able to stand on their own.

“Women need financial position and muscle for them to succeed. They can succeed if they are economically empowered,” she said.

The President said for women to achieve economic empowerment and claim gender equality, they should look for businesses that are realistic and achievable.

President Joyce Banda with leader of South African Women in Business Infrastructure Group Judi Nwokedi after they has discussions of partenership with Malawi women in Business at Kamuzu Palace – pic by Lisa Vintula

She cited the issue of housing as one of the businesses women can venture into saying there is a ready market for it.

“The issue of housing has been a problem for a long time especially in cities. As such women can take this up and venture into housing business thereby employing others as well as making themselves economically empowered,” she said.

The Malawi and South Africa Women Business Forum held a two day meeting in Lilongwe where they discussed on how they can boost their respective businesses through exchange of ideas and expertise.

They discussed and agreed on possible business ventures such as infrastructure development, agri-business such as irrigation agriculture and value addition to the agricultural products.

In the infrastructure development, the forum explored the possibility of having a hospital space that would be rented out to different stakeholders in the hospital industry, building a shopping mall and a university building.

Malawi Women Business Forum Chairperson, Doreen Chanje, told Malawi News Agency (Mana) in an interview after the audience with the President that the projects the forum has decided upon are achievable as it has the capacity and potential.

However, Chanje expressed a challenge that inadequate capital and various issues that come with loans hinder women from aiming for big businesses.

“Big business requires big money and as such there is need for any business organisation to have a good business plan for the banks to approve its loan application should you decide to do so,” said Chanje.

She was optimistic that through the partnership the two forums have entered into and commitment from the Malawi Head of State the projects are viable and achievable.

South Africa Women Business Forum head of delegation, Judi Nwokadi, said women in the two countries are determined to make a difference and as such this partnership will accord them an opportunity to reach their goal.

She then concurred with Chanje that the projects are achievable and that by the end of 2013 they will be presented to a team of investors.

Executive Director of Federation of National Associations of Women in Business in Eastern & Southern africa Katherine Ichoya with president Joyce Banda at Kamuzu Palace – pic by Lisa Vintulla
South african women in business pose for a photo with malawi president Joyce Banda at kamuzu Palace after discussing their partenership with malawi women in business to empower women in small business scale

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