50:50 campaign lacking political will—Pacenet

Pan African Civic Educators Network (Pacenet) has expressed discontent at the sluggish pace at which Malawi is making towards attaining 50 percent of women representation in elective offices and other positions of influence.

Pacenet programme manager Cassidy Magreta has since blamed government and its stakeholders for lacking political will to actualise contents of the national gender policy (NGP).

Tafatatha (L) and other delegates captured during the stakeholders meeting in Dedza

Magreta was speaking in Dedza, on Friday, during a presentation to stakeholders to the gender transformative grass roots community engagement tool/ manual.

“Government developed the national gender policy and calls on stakeholders, including nongovernmental organisations to help implementing the strategies within it.

“Unfortunately, in practice, there is little political will among leaders and few organisations in the fight for the increase of women are in political as well as other influential positions,” said Magreta.

He emphasised that increasing women representation in elective positions ‘is a colossal job’ requiring collective and concerted efforts.

He said Pacenet has secured K25.5 million from United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) for raising awareness on the need to double efforts to increase the number of women in influential positions.

Councillor for Malembo Ward in Dedza South West Constituency, Evelyn Tafatatha, said apart from cultural beliefs, delays by NGOs to release funding for the 50:50 women empowerment campaign also contributes to the failure to achieve the goal.

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) director of civic education Lydia Luwanika said programmes that organisations implement on women empowerment are “more of theory than practice” hence, the failure to achieve the goal.

The meeting drew participants, among others, from the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), National Elections Systems Trust (Nest), UN Women, and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR).

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