By Mphatso Nkuonera
Lilongwe, March 10, Mana: Violence against women across Africa remains prevalent despite all efforts made to curb the vice for a positive development says African Gender Equality Platform.
Speaking on Wednesday at the close of a three-day 2021 conference held virtually at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, First lady Monica Chakwera said time to make decision to end gender inequality is now by putting women at a center stage of development.
“We are moving positively. Currently, 39 per cent of women hold ministerial positions and form part of the executive arm of government. This is a clear sign of progress,” she said.
She cited the enactment of Marriage and Divorce Act, the amendment of the constitution which pushed marriage age of girls from 16 to 18 years as some of the positive issues in addressing inequality.
She further said that despite the progress, there is need to do better in addressing other inequalities saying as of now only one percent of women in the country own land.
However, she bemoaned that women are still behind as they cannot be easily get loans since they do not own land.
“I am glad that there are some organizations who see women important and give lend them money to venture into various entrepreneurial activities to economically uplift their lives,” she added.
She, therefore, appealed that the country’s legal framework should have legislations which should stand for women.
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati, assured women in the country of government’s plan to see them fully empowered, developed and actively participating in the development of the country.
“We are looking forward to open a family court soon so that women are fully protected. Government has all the policies that are in place to economically empower women like village banks, education loans and re-admission programs.
“Others include cash transfer programs that has cushioned women financially, and more importantly the landmark fertilizer input subsidy program which will see women not struggling to fend for their families due to bumper yields,” she said.
Deputy Representative of UN Women in Malawi, Pamela Mkwamba Matumbi hailed Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC) Program Manager, Emma Kaliya and Ombudsman Martha Chizuma for representing women more efficiently that made them receive various awards this year among many others.
“We need equal pay, equal treatment and we need equal health care that put women at an advantage of living a better and health life both in rural and urban areas
“Financial inclusion for women must become a reality to fully empower women for the development of our communities and nations,” she said.
During the conference Jaqueline Malombe was declared as the 2021 winner for the Generation Equality Award for her role in motivating girls to be determined and respect their rights.
“I am grateful for this recognition because this has encouraged me to continue helping others, I am humbled because I did not know that the society could recognize me like this,” said Malombe.
Reports indicate that in 2020, Malawi registered a 34 per cent increase of defilement cases and Lilongwe alone reported 234 defilement cases.