“As UN women we are rallying behind each other to find mechanisms where they can be assisted to contest for such positions, building their capacity to articulate issues, and networking to share experiences to open up some doors,” said Matumbi.
The United Nations Women says that they want more women to contest for the various positions in the 2019 Tripartite Elections because time is ripe for women to be in decision making positions.
In an interview on Thursday in Nsanje, Pamela Mkwamba Matumbi, Head of Programs at UN Women, bemoaned violence, name calling as some vices that detract women not to participate actively in political affairs.
She said it was important for the communities to support women who are willing to contest because women know very small issues that make a community move unlike their male counterparts.
The UN Women programs manager downplayed the sentiments that some quarters advance that the UN Women are trying just to make noise for the sake of it. She said that what they are doing is simply to ensure that women ideals are understood and that are put in right places for development.
Speaking on challenges that women face in male dominated circles, Rose Makiyi, the only female councilor in Nsanje, out of 10 councilors the council has, said it is not easy to convince men who already have negative stereotypes against women.
“Sometimes you try to put forward a relevant issue that may help uplift the welfare of the grassroots, but in the end they look at who is speaking and not necessarily what you are speaking simply just because you are female,” said Makiyi.
Makiyi added that it is difficult to advance issue that affect women in the district because her voice, weighed against many of her male counterparts, is rarely regarded as voice of reason.
She advised more women to come forward and take positions such as that of a council chair, and also asked UN Women to woo and support more women to contest.
Currently, 30 women have shown interest to contest in various electoral positions in Nsanje district.
By ANDREW MUKHUWA, MEC STRINGER