Women in Mzimba have pushed the blame on Ngoni culture, saying it does not recognise and empower them to take up leadership positions in political and development platforms in their communities.
This was disclosed recently at Nkhamenya, during training in women empowerment organised by Tovwirane with 100 community-based educators drawn from traditional authorities (T/As) M’mbelwa, Mabilabo and Khosolo.
Pauline Banda from T/A Mabilabo said, because of culture, in most platforms women ideas are not prioritised even though they can give constructive contributions.
She said: “Women are not considered to lead in top positions but only the men. But there are a lot of women with good constructive ideas which can bring change in as far as development of our communities is concerned.”
Tabeni Jere from Edingeni Village concurred with Banda, saying time has come to raise awareness to people in various areas of the district to consider women in both political or development platforms because they have the zeal to change the communities like men can do.
Tovwirane Programmes Officer for Women Empowered for Leadership Programme Cecilia Chivunga said despite 50/50 campaign, there are a few women in leadership positions, both in politics and in public administration.
Chivunga said, for instance, out of 463 councillors in Malawi, only 52 are women while out of 192 Members of Parliament only 32 are women.
She said through other findings carried out in the programme, it has been noted that women are also not fully participating in community development structures such as the Area Development Committees (ADCs) and Village Development Committees (VDCs).
Chivunga said this is because of the inferiority complex arising from culture and even gender-based violence in their communities which makes them not to fully participate in such forums.
She said through the programme women shall be empowered through trainings in public speaking, dressing, time management and others so that they take up leadership positions in both public administration and politics.
“We would like to create a supporting environment that values women’s leadership. So among the activities, we would raise awareness in the communities such that men, fellow women and even the youth should be able to offer their support to enable women to occupy leadership positions.
“We further plan to work with five major political parties in Malawi and those parties will have more women representation, we will help them financially and provide other support to ensure they acquire political positions,” Chivunga said.
The five-year project is supported by Dutch government through Hivos and runs through 2021 with the funding of K34 million.
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