Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati has said women assemblies are important in as far as fighting gender-based violence is concerned.
Women assembly is a place where women meet and discuss issues affecting them and how they can deal with the issues.
Yesterday, OXFAM and the Women Legal Resource Centre (WORLEC) held Women Manifesto Movement Assembly in Lilongwe which brought together different women from rural areas as well as urban areas.
Speaking during the event, the minister said the women assemblies are important because they take stock in the direction which women are moving and they also help in achieving issues like climate change, safe homes and justice moving in the direction of women in decision making.
“The Women Movement Assembly is on the core vision of looking into the affairs of women across, we are looking at sustainable development goals which we have in the Country, the gender issues, the wills inheritance, the marriage divorce and family relations.
“This is a very important assembly which has come at a right time when we are commemorating 16 days of activism where we do awareness that time is now to end gender-based violence. As we are looking forward to 2025, we need to put a number of women in decision making roles.
“We also need to look into the affairs which affect us and that we need to claim for our life, this is a whole issue of having this assembly. So, there are a number of issues which have come out and they will be looking into it and see where they are lacking behind and focus very much and put a gear five on those areas, like issues of women in economic empowerment, issues of women in decision making but also women and health,” said Kaliati.
She, however, added that as of now Malawi is on 45 percent in terms of the way the country is dealing with gender-based violence, but the target is to reach 50% or plus.
“We are looking forward to be at 50 % or plus come 2025 and beyond. We are doing awareness on women that they have to know now. Sometime back, women were not aware of some types of gender-based violence. So now they are able to know how to protect themselves and how to claim their rights as well and how to protect themselves whenever they have resources and how to utilise the resources. So, we are moving in that direction with the intervention which government is having,” said Kaliati.
In his remarks, WORLEC Executive Director who is also the coordinator to Women’s Manifesto Movement, Maggie Kathewera Banda, said the idea of having women movement assembly is to bring women from different areas of the country urban areas as well as rural areas so that they come together to assess the successes that have been registered as women in Malawi and also the challenges they are facing.
“From the first women assembly in 2018 we came up with a document called women manifesto which contains demands that women are making in terms of what duty bearers should be doing for women in Malawi to uplift their lives and we have been using that document for advocacy. Prior to the elections, we have been meeting presidential candidates to discuss with them what women are demanding and also to solicit the commitment in terms of what they are going to do when they go into government.
“It’s now time for us to review to see whether the manifesto document has been of use what kind of success we have registered by using it and also what are the gaps, but also identifying new issues that are emerging for example, covid-19,” said Banda.