The World Bank has singled out Malawi as a top performer in gender equality as revealed by the 2019 World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law: A Decade of Reform Survey which examined 187 economies around the world.
Among other aspects, Malawi has been recognised for passing laws that ban sexual harassment in the workplace in 2014. According to the report, at least 35 countries—eight from Africa—banned sexual harassment at workplace between 2010 and 2018.
Speaking on Thursday at a panel discussion organised by the World Bank Group as a side event during the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, United States of America, the World Bank senior director for gender Caren Grown said Malawi is a top performer in gender equality reform as its score improved by 15.6 points—from 68.13 to 83.75 in the last 10 years.
Malawi is sharing the score with USA, Kenya and The Bahamas. At the top, on 100 points are Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden whereas Saudi Arabia, at 25.63 points, anchors the table.
“Some of the reforms that are really important that Malawi made include legislating action against sexual harassment in the workplace and introducing pension care credits for women to take child care leave, and that’s such an important innovation,” Grown said.
The World Bank considers gender equality a critical component of economic growth.
“To complicate this matter, some apprehended suspects have play in creating a more prosperous world. But we won’t succeed in playing it if the laws are holding us back we have our role to,” says Kristalina Georgieva the interim president, World Bank Group and chief executive officer in the foreword of the report.
Minister for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Cecilia Chazama said the Government of Malawi’s plans are to continue with the popularisation, implementation and enforcement of all gender-related laws, policies and strategies, among other initiatives.
Speaking at the same event, UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo Ncuka hailed Malawi for being a role model in its work with traditional leaders in the fight against child marriages.
“One thing that we are also very proud of, which Malawi and Zambia have done, is working with the traditional chiefs to encourage them to facilitate the change of the norms and the culture to increase the uptake of the new laws that are ending child marriages and other forms of violence against women and girls. The partnership between us and these two countries has actually pushed us into working intensely across Africa with the traditional chiefs,” she said.
The World Bank Women, Business and the Law 2019 Index measured 8 indicators which are freedom of movement, women’s decision to work, women’s pay, constraints to marriage, maternity leave, business enterprise, ownership and inheritance of property and size of a woman’s pension.
Malawi scored a hundred percent on reform indicators on starting a job, getting paid, getting married, managing assets, and getting a pension.