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Women take stock of Beijing +25 process

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Emma Kaliya

Former president Joyce Banda has asked women rights organisations in the country and other stakeholders to do comprehensive consultations regarding the Beijing +25 process.

She said if Malawi were to achieve the process, there was a need to include voices of rural women and girls in development programmes and policies.

“Rural women and girls make up the largest population in Malawi,” she said as she addressed stakeholders during the Gender Barometer Launch in Lilongwe Monday.

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“I want to ask all stakeholders to stop the tendency of speaking on behalf of rural women instead of giving them the platform to voice out their concerns by themselves.

“We assume [that] we can speak on behalf of women living in rural areas but that is far from reality because we live in different environments,” Banda said.

She said Malawi was doing great on 50+50 representation in government positions.

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Banda, however, bemoaned slow progress in efforts aimed at stemming gender-based violence cases in the country.

Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre Executive Director Emma Kaliya said barometer findings indicated that Malawi was one of six Southern African Development Community member states that had recently put in place laws and policies allowing adolescents to access sexual and reproductive health services without third party authorisation.

“Malawi has made progress in percentage reduction of new HIV infections among females in the 15 to 24 years age category.

“Additionally, Malawi has made progress in the reduction of mother-to-child transmission of HIV,” Kaliya said.

She said participants would discuss and provide solutions to atrocities directed at women, girls and infants, 25 years after the Beijing Conference.

The theme for the meeting is ‘Generation Equality Beijing +25: Realising Gender Equality and the Empowerment of all Women and Girls’.

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