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Girls participation in politics low—Survey

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By Patience Lunda:

A survey which Plan International conducted in 29 countries including Malawi has shown that girls’ participation in politics remains low.

Survey results were disseminated during commemorations marking International Day of the Girl Child in Mzuzu City Tuesday.

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The survey has further indicated that girls and young women know that political participation is important but 94 percent recognise that they cannot excel due to barriers.

The barriers include cyber bullying and being looked down upon.

In an interview, Plan International Malawi Programme officer Silence Banda said girls and women have the right to take part in decisions that affect their lives, hence the need for concerted effort to support them.

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“We are raising awareness on girls’ participation in politics because the survey has shown that women are willing but the platform is not enabling and we will continue to break other barriers so that the situation can be reversed,” he said.

The commemorations were spiced up by activities such as a panel discussion— which targeted the academia, politicians and girls— a solidarity march and symbolic takeover of the Mzuzu City Council Chief Executive Officer’s office.

Mzuzu University Development Studies and History lecturer Chrispin Mphande said tertiary education institutions offer lessons which expose students to political studies.

However, Mphande noted that many youths are abused by politicians, citing their use as weapons of violence as the expense of being elected into leadership positions.

“The way youths are used by political parties may kill girls’ appetite to join politics,” he said.

The survey targeted 29,000 girls and young women aged between 15 and 24 years in all the 29 countries.

The theme for the commemorations was ‘Girls’ Equal Political Participation’.

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