Women shun active politics as govt hints on offering support – Capital Radio Malawi
23 April, 2024

Women shun active politics as govt hints on offering support

A woman casts her vote.

The poor participation of women in politics is derailing Malawi’s efforts to achieve gender equality in line with the MW2063 vision.

For instance, there were no women candidates in the August 23 local government by-elections held in Shire ward in Balaka, Lupembe ward in Karonga and Wenya ward in Chitipa district.

This is despite efforts by the government and the civil society to increase women representation in positions of influence through the 50-50 campaign.

There have been various factors leading to the low participation of women in active politics such a lack of resources and cultural beliefs.

Mike Kavalo, a Lilongwe resident complains that a large percentage of women shun politics because male aspirants talk down on them during the campaign trail.

“In most cases male aspirants brand women aspirants as prostitutes, hence frustrating their interest in politics. This is not right,” Kavalo laments.

The National Coordinator of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) Boniface Chibwana blames political parties for failing to create space for women.

Chibwana.

Chibwana notes that political parties do not give room to women to take up positions but instead use them as handclappers.

“Politics is expensive especially when it comes to the campaign period and most parties do not provide adequate support to women aspirants and that is a big setback in male-dominated political space,” he adds.

All this is contrary to goal number five of the MW2063, a development blueprint, which the government envisions fully empowered women with equal rights and opportunities in all aspects of life.

Country Director of OXFAM, Lingalireni Mihowa, however, believes the country is still making strides in roping in more women to the political sphere as evidenced in the 2019 elections which saw women parliamentary seats increase from 16 to 23 percent.

Mihowa says, “Despite facing numerous challenges, women are still gaining ground in the local politics, a strong indication that the country is on the right path to achieving gender equality in politics by the year 2063”.

Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati, has admitted that a lack of financial resources poses a major challenge to many women to venture into politics.

Kaliati admits that a lack of financial resources poses a major challenge to many women who wish to venture into politics.

Kaliati was however quick to reveal that her Ministry plans to roll out a nationwide research to establish real challenges that prevent women from participating in active politics.

“What we are looking forward is to do a research in areas where women want to contest and find out the ones who are interested,” she explained.

The minister added that such women will be trained and supported accordingly on how to engage in politics with support from fellow women.

This story was produced with support from the Women in News Social Impact Reporting Initiative.

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