Mutharika tells UN Women his commitment to promoting welfare of Malawi women

President Professor  Peter Mutharika has reiterated his government’s commitment towards the advancement of gender equality and women empowerment in the country.

President Mutharika with United Nations (UN) Women executive board

Mutharika made this remarks on Monday at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre when he had an audience with the UN Women Executive Board who are in the country to observe and assess how UN organisations are faring.

He said his administration strives to put women in decision-making positions across the civil service and parastatal organisations.

“My administration is committed to women empowerment and this can be evidenced through the enactment of gender-related legislations, one of which being the raising of the marrying age from 16 years to 18 years.

“Furthermore, I have managed to appoint women in key positions both in my cabinet as well as civil service. We are also geared to increase the participation of women and girls particularly through the 50-50 campaign,” said the Malawi leader.

Mutharika also pointed out the remarkable progress Malawi has made in reducing child marriages, saying the country has managed to register a decline in the number of child marriages by 50 per cent.

However, the President conceded that it was still a challenge to attain a 50-50 women representation in parliament but was optimistic it would be achieved.

In her remarks, President of the UN Women executive board, Ambassador Ivana Pajević  lobbied for an increased budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare to enhance women empowerment in the country.

 She  said an  increase in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare funding would lead to achievement of gender equality through some programmes being implemented and that women would also be given a boost with regard to gender issues.

Said Rajevic: “If the budget is increased then we will achieve more especially in gender equality and empowerment. In terms of elections, we discussed with the President that women are involved in all processes underground.”

She said there is a high possibility that with the measures that government is putting in place, among others passing various legislations, Malawi can become a leading example within the Southern Africa Development Commission (Sadc) region.

Rajevic said the country was on the right track in development under the administration of Professor Mutharika.

“We have a number of projects in the areas of education, health and through our observation and assessment, the programmes are bearing fruits,” she said.

In the 2016/17 National Budget, the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare was allocated K3 161 290 071 whereas in the 2017/18 it was allocated K4 599 265 055.

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