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Gender experts’ absence hampering Sustainable Development Goal pursuit

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Malawi faces another challenge in its desire to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as government has admitted that there are no enough gender experts in the country.

SDG number five on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls seeks to change the course of the 21st century in addressing key challenges such as poverty, inequality and violence against women.

Malawi, a country with a higher population of women than men, already failed the gender equality test in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

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Secretary for Gender, Mary Shawa, said individuals who are active in the country’s gender programmes just went through some short courses and are not knowledgeable enough to spur remarkable change in gender equality campaign.

Shawa said gender issues need to be understood fully if gender equality goal is to be achieved.

“People who are there may not be able to fully understand the whole concept about gender. People need to be trained in what gender is and what is gender and development. Gender is the thing that starts before somebody is born and it continues all the way up to the time when a person becomes a productive adult.

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“If indeed everyone in Malawi was trained in gender, the whole question of somebody wanting to amass all the wealth would not be there because we would always be thinking that we all need to share what is available and we all need to contribute to the development of Malawi,” Shawa said.

Through its gender equality policy, the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College is introducing gender studies in what seems to be one of the efforts in addressing the absence of experts in the gender equality campaign.

“We will talk to our colleagues at the University of Makelele [In Uganda] who are already experienced in these gender studies, to advise us on how best we can mainstream gender issues in our studies,” Unima Vice Chancellor John Saka said

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