Malawian President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika says demonstration of political will at the highest level of leadership is key to the promotion of gender equality, women empowerment and ending gender based violence in all countries.
President Mutharika said this recently at the launch of a HeForShe Impact Parity Report in New York, USA.
The President said his commitment as a HeForShe champion is a testimony to how leadership can move and bring change to societies and communities.
“Since I became a Global HeforShe Champion and pledged to end child marriages in 2015, I have witnessed increased enactment of various laws towards eradication of this violation.
“My leadership’s commitment has been well received and approved by Members of Parliament, traditional leaders, business captains, the academia and civil society,” Mutharika said.
He added that this leadership has accelerated a decrease in cases of child marriages and other practices of gender based and domestic violence against women and girls.
“At the time I became one of the HeforShe Impact Champions in 2015, the prevalence of child marriages in Malawi was one in every two girls, representing 50 percent.
The recent Malawi Demographic and Health Survey shows that child marriages had declined by 5 percent by 2016,” President Mutharika said.
He attributed the positive change to the collaborative efforts between government, traditional leaders and other stakeholders.
Such collaboration, the president said, has resulted in the nullification of over 3,500 child marriages with most of these children being re-admitted in school.
Other fruits of his leadership commitment include the re-enactment of the 2015 Marriage Act which saw legal marriage age being raised from 16 to 18 years.
It also includes the vigorous implementation of the Gender Based Violence National Action Plan (GBV NAP) and provisions of the Gender Equality Act among others.
However, the President asked for financial support to address existing gaps by scaling up the campaign of ending child marriages and supporting the re-admission of girls into schools.
“We need to have strong economic empowerment programmes for women and girls to end this vicious cycle of poverty and child marriages,” Mutharika said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :