Government urged to establish gender commission


By Cathy Maulidi:

Stakeholders in advocacy for women’s rights have called on the authorities to establish a gender commission to look into issues affecting women.

Oxfam Malawi country Director Lingalireni Mihowa made the call on Saturday on arrival at Kamuzu International Airport from Zimbabwe where she, along with some members of the Malawi Parliamentary Women’s Caucus, went to share practices and strategies on women empowerment and ending violence against them.


Speaking to journalists, Mihowa said there is a need for the country to have a gender commission to handle issues that affect women.

“One of the key lessons was the fact that Zimbabwe has an independent constitutionally established gender commission.

“In Malawi we used to have a national commission for women in development but it ceased to operate and now the Malawi Human Rights Commission is overseeing that, but MHRC has a wider mandate so having a specific body to look into women issues would bring more gains,” Mihowa said.


She added: “The Gender commission in Zimbabwe has very clear roles. They do have oversight of all institutions that are responsible for dealing with gender equality issues so that oversight role is commendable because they are able to question.”

She said the commission would have powers to establish a commission of inquiry into some abuses of women’s rights and any other issues.

“So we hope that Malawi can move forward with that because if we can have such a body, it will also be able to summon institutions that have failed on issues of gender and make strong recommendations,” Mihowa said.

Malawi leader of delegation, who is also Chairperson for the Malawi Parliamentary Women’s Caucus Roseby Gadama said they have learnt a lot from their Zimbabwean counterparts.

“We have shared practices and strategies on how we can improve female participation in elections. They shared with us how they are doing on issues of gender quotas where some female MPs are just appointed by the leadership so we would want to see how we can also try that here in Malawi.

“We have also learnt how their gender commission is faring. We would love to also have that in Malawi. We have also shared with them some strategies and how we are doing on issues of gender here in Malawi,” Gadama said.

A 15 Member delegation, which included members of the Parliamentary Women Caucus, Ministry of Gender, Women Legal Resources Centre and Rural Women’s Assembly, went to Zimbabwe for a leadership learning visit and the trip was organized by Oxfam and partners.

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