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NGO- Gender Coordination Network bemoans women participation

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NGO Gender Coordination Network has bemoaned the participation of women in decision-making processes among political parties.

Chairperson of Women in Politics and Decision Making Positions in NGOG-CN, Emmie Chanika, expressed the concern at a press briefing held in Blantyre on Friday.

Chanika said there is need for political parties to put in place “tangible strategies that will facilitate increased women participation in decision-making positions of the political parties”, especially at National Governing Council (NGC) and National Executive Committee (Nec) levels.

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“Political parties should progressively ensure their constitutions, procedures and guiding documents provide for affirmative action and that these should be implemented to foster increased women’s representation and participation,” Chanika said.

She said findings by the Women in Politics and Decision Making Permanent Committee of NGO-GCN, which engaged party presidents, secretaries general and women wing leaders, indicate that women occupy peripheral positions.

Chanika said the political parties engaged were the Alliance for Democracy (Aford), Malawi Congress Party (MCP), United Democratic Front (UDF), and People’s Party (PP).

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The committee is yet to meet the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

“In the spirit of the sustainable development goals, this is time to ensure that no one is left behind. In this case, in as far as women’s participation in political life is concerned, we deem political parties as a critical player.

“This is all about ensuring that instruments and conventions such as the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women, the AU protocol on Women’s Rights in Africa, the Sadc protocol on gender and development, among others, become a reality in Malawi,” she said.

Among other things, the committee found that fewer women than men occupy influential positions.

It indicates, for example, that PP has 78 people in its National Executive Committee, of which 56 are men and 22 are women. This represents 28.2 percent of women representation.

NGO-GCN also found that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party has 75 members in its National Governing Council, of which 43 are men and 32 are women. This represents 42.7 percent.

The Malawi Congress Party has 72 members in its top leadership positions, of which 52 are men and 20 are women. The Alliance for Democracy, according to NGO-GCN, has 65 National Executive Committee members, of which 35 are men and 30 are women.

“If the current trends remain unchecked, our country’s democracy and development will continue being compromised and the much touted women promotion in decision making will remain a rhetoric,” Chanika said..

NGO-GCN, which was formed in 1998, is a 51-member network that promotes gender equality and women empowerment in Malawi.

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