A group fighting for women’s rights in Nsanje has decried continued violation of women’s rights to own land.
The group, Kuchene Women Forum, said the district’s cultural norm of giving men more property such as land is compromising efforts to ensure that women equally enjoy their right to own land like men.
“Our organization is very concerned with the treatment of women in the Lower Shire district. Most women in Nsanje are still struggling to own land for agricultural activities despite the fact that they have also a right to own the land,” director for the group Gertrude Kalosi said when the organization was commemorating 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence.
She further stressed that the situation is putting women at a disadvantage especially at a time when they are divorced or widowed as it becomes difficult for them to acquire land to settle down.
The Kuchene Women Forum director whose organization is engaging local leaders and women through interface meetings accused some of the district’s local leaders of failing to assist victims of such circumstances accordingly as they receive bribes from the perpetrators.
“Let me challenge the chiefs and some relevant stakeholders to refrain from such malpractice so that women should equally enjoy their rights to land,” urged Kalosi.
Councilor Andrew Piriminta of Misamvu ward in Nsanje Central acknowledged the concerns raised by the women grouping and he advised them to seek assistance from relevant authorities when faced with such challenges.
“Let me urge women to have the courage and stand up for their rights. They should not sit back and watch while their rights are being violated,” she said.
Women who are under a grouping dubbed Coalition of Women Farmers (COWFA) last year also appealed to authorities including government and other local leaders to look into cultural norms that restricts women from owning land just as men do.