Stand up for your rights, JB urges women

Malawi’s first female vice president Joyce Banda has urged women in the country to “stand up” and fight for their rights.

Banda, who joined over 2,000 womens who protested over a gang which went about cities of Lilongwe and Mzuzu stripping women for wearing trousers, mini-skirts and leggings, said women have come a long way to lose the battle now.

“I came here to show solidarity, as a woman I am very angry because the [gang] did not just humiliate and shame the women they undressed but they have humiliated me as well, I don’t really understand how one can undress a lady in public,” she said.

Joyce Banda in solidarity with women. Flanked by Anita Kalinde MP (R) and Gender Minister Reen Kachere. Photo: Fallys Ngaluka/ Nyasa Times

Banda said every woman should “stand up, fight back” and show that they are not intimidated but disgusted with what the unruly youth are doing.

“Some of us have spent our entire life fighting for the freedom of women,” Vice President Joyce Banda  who was flanked at the protest by MP Anita Kalinde told the protesters.

“It’s shocking some men want to take us back to bondage,” said the Vice President.

Speaking at the function WILSA Chair Seodi White could not hide her anger, saying women have a right to dress in any way that they want.

“Women have a right to dress in any way they want, who are they to tell us how we should dress? Who are they to undress and humiliate us in public?” questioned White

University of Malawi academician, known for the battle of academic freedom, Dr Jessie Kabwila Kapasula did not have kind words for the vendors.

She said vendors need to be told that time to abuse women its gone.

Kabwila-Kapasula said women “need to be respected and appreciated” for the role they play in society.

“That vendorcame from a woman, they are stripping women who are just like their mother, how can someone strip their own mother? “wondered Kapasula adding that women should stop buying from the vendors.

Dr Ngeyi Kanyongolo, another University of Malawi academciian, said women do not terrorize men in any way and wondered why women are always victims.

“Women dressed in trousers or miniskirts is a display of the freedom of expression,” said Kanyongolo a law professor.

A recording of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” got a loud cheer when it was played during the protest. Men also took part.


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