11 March 2019

Malawi: Women Representation Still Meagre in Public Service, Chazama

Lilongwe — Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare has described the 24 per cent female representation in public service as meagre, requiring tangible interventions to bridge the gap with their male counterparts.

Cecilia Chazama was speaking during the commemoration of this year's International Women's Day on March 8 in Namitete, Traditional Authority Kalolo in Lilongwe District.

The minister said it was the wish of government to have everybody take part in closing the existing gender gap in public service and other areas by helping rural communities to understand gender laws.

"This is why government, through my ministry, is in the process of translating gender laws into local languages so that even people with low literacy, especially in rural areas can also understand them," she said.

Chazama said women representation in public service can also increase if girls attain meaningful education which she said is the tool for them to compete fairly with their male counterparts.

She, therefore, asked Member of Parliament of the area (Lilongwe Rural West) and other authorities to make use of Local Development Fund (LDF), Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and other resources at district council to create conducive environment for girl education in schools

"I appeal to the MP of this area to take advantage of LDF, CDF and DDF (District Development Fund) to buy desks, chairs and other facilities to create better learning environment for girls," said Chazama.

The minister said with women contributing about 70 per cent of labour force in development in rural areas, they need to be empowered with skills for them to contribute meaningfully.

Earlier, Lilongwe Rural West Parliamentarian, Joseph Njovuyalema told the gathering at the function that inadequate chairs and desks were forcing girls to drop out of school in the area because they do not sit comfortably on the floor.

He said that the supply of chairs and desks to schools has been left in the hands of the district council was a huge task for it to manage, hence the shortage of facilities in schools.

"This is why I call on government to supply chairs and desks to schools in this constituency. There is also no school with electricity in this area which makes it hard for girls to continue with education," Njovuyalema said.

The legislator also cited early pregnancies and early marriages as main problems frustrating efforts to uplift girls' education in the area.

The International Women's Day is commemorated on March 8 every year. This year, it was commemorated under the theme "Think equal, build smart, innovate for change: Advancing the status of women and girls in Malawi."

Several partners joined the occasion which was organised by Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare.

Some of the partners present were Malawi Police Service, Malawi Prison Service, Malawi Human Rights Commission, UN Women, Women lawyers Association and Immigration officers among others.

The commemoration started with a match from the main Road to Mchinji to Namitete Secondary School, a distance of about one and half kilometres. This was followed by inspection of displays by the guest of honour (Chazama).

Police, Immigration, Prison women officers and women lawyers among other women carried placards depicting different messages during the match such as 'nothing for us without us; 'include women, change Malawi for the better' and 'balance drives better working conditions'.

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