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Women demand 50-50 representation in Cabinet

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By Taonga Sabola:

Women have demanded 50-50 representation in top leadership positions at all levels including the Cabinet.

So far, three women, namely Minister of Gender Cecilia Chazama, Grace Chiumia, who is Minister of Sports, and Jean Kalirani, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, are the only women in President Peter Mutharika’s 20 member Cabinet.

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Women Legal Resources Centre Executive Director Maggie Kathewera Banda made the demand when several gender non-governmental organisations presented the Women’s Manifesto to the Ministry of Gender Friday.

“The Manifesto was developed out of recognition that, despite having progressive gender-related laws, women and girls’ issues receive inadequate attention by duty bearers. This document seeks to remind duty bearers of their role in fulfilling women’s and girl’s rights,” she said.

Key issues in the manifesto are Women and Education, Women and Health, Women and Economic Empowerment, Women and Agriculture, Women Leadership, Politics and Governance, Violence against Women and Girls Peace and Security, Access to justice and Land, Water and Natural Resources.

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Director of Administration in the Ministry of Gender Macculum Sibande, who represented Minister of Gender, said the ministry is committed to the work being championed by the civil society organisations to take duty bearers to task in as far as women empowerment is concerned.

“The government has already made sure that we have in place the Deceased Estate Act, the Gender Equality Act, the National Gender Policy and a National Strategy on Ending Child Marriages as some of the interventions of women empowerment,” he said.

The Women’s Manifesto, which was launched on March 28, is being championed by Women Legal Resources Centre, Oxfam, Hivos, NGO Gender Coordination Network, 50-50 Management Agency and Action Aid among others.

The organisations which are championing the manifesto are expected to present it to the presidential candidates for endorsement.

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