Malawi President Peter Mutharika is backing promoting female talent agenda to achieve gender equality, saying he will fight for more females in the National Assembly during the 2019 elections, telling world policymakers that his government is to push for legislation in Parliament for one constituency per district to be contested only by women.
Addressing participants on Wednesday at the European Development Days in Brussels, Belgium, President Mutharika said he hopes new legislation will boost the number of women holding public office – both locally and nationally.
Malawi ranks as one of the countries with low female representation not only in southern Africa, but globally. At the moment, only 22 percent of 193 parliamentary seats are held by women.
“For the first time in the history of Malawi, in our 2019 elections we will have at least one constituency in each of the 28 districts dedicated to the election of women only Members of Parliament,” Mutharika said.
Mutharika was invited by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission to participate at the opening of a 2-day European Development Days forum which started Wednesday.
Malawi is taking lessons from Rwanda which legislated affirmative action by reserving 30 percent of seats in parliament for women. Women now hold half the legislative seats in the lower house in Rwanda – making the small African nation number one in the world when it comes to the number of female lawmakers.
Mutharika told the policymakers that his government has taken proactive measures to include women in strategic decision-making positions and mentioned examples of the position of Clerk of Parliament, Solicitor General and Chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission are being held by women.
He said Malawi considers women participation in all corners of governance and society as a priority.
“We have intensified programmes such as Women Social and Economic Empowerment, Increasing Access and Quality of Education for Girls, and Social Cash Transfer Programme,” he said.
“Just like women, we also need to invest in the Youth as a human capital. As a father, a leader, and a Champion for the Youth, I am naturally concerned with the plight of the youth in the developing world,” he added.
The potential of a ‘feminocracy’ should surely instil optimism in those working towards equality of opportunity for female talent in the world of work.
And Mutharika received backing form IMF Managing director, Christine Lagarde who said her organization will “support countries whose budgets deliberately mainstream gender into their focus areas.”
She said that some countries still favour laws that discriminate women.
“Although countries claim to be for the empowerment of women, 90% have laws that undermine equality for women. It is macro economically relevant to empower women and boost economic growth,” said the IMF chief.
According to Lagarde, tackling gender inequality boosts growth, reduces revenue inequality and diversifies economy.
The European Development Days (EDD) is Europe’s leading forum on international cooperation and development.
Organized since 2006, EDD 2017 promotes a new global strategy to address the most pressing global challenges and bring together development actors committed to tackling poverty worldwide with a particular emphasis on engaging the private sector as a partner in economic development.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :