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Ministry bemoans abuse of women

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The Ministry of Gender, Disability, Children and Social Welfare has bemoaned prevailing violence against women in Malawi’s politics.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry, Esmie Kainja, said on Thursday that when political opponents use antagonistic language against each other, women are usually at the receiving end.

She thus expressed worry that the situation could get out of hand as the election year 2019 draws close, hence the need for more women in the country to master the art of peace building.

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Kainja was speaking in Mzuzu when she presided over the Northern Region Women in Peace Building conference under the theme ‘Enhancing Women Participation in Peace Building in Malawi’.

“As a ministry, we encourage women to participate in all social and political activities, but the abuse that women are subjected to for taking part in politics is worrisome. There are times when they are harassed or beaten,” she said.

She also stressed that Malawi has significant elements of conflicts at various levels such as households, workplaces, and schools, as evidenced by structural discrimination and rising cases of Gender-based Violence (GBV) against women and Children.

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Commenting on the event, Kainja said the conference aimed at domesticating United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution 1325 which is aimed at supporting women’s active involvement in peace negotiations, post conflict peace-building and reconstruction.

She disclosed that most peace agreements do not adequately address the specific needs of women, a situation she said can be corrected at domestic level.

“The absence of war does not necessarily amount to peace, this is why, sadly, women engagement on peace building remains minimal. I want to challenge you all that with equal participation of both men and women tensions are diffused even before they escalate,” Kainja said.

Speaking separately, acting Clerk to the Cabinet, Marjorie Shema said with support from various UN agencies the Office of President and Cabinet has embarked on a process of setting up structures to enhance conflict prevention and peace building.

During the conference, a peace building network for the region was also formed.

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