Despite Malawi making tremendous strides in advancing gender equality, there is still a lot of work to be done to fully empower women and girls in Malawian society, this according to Executive Director of For Equality Organization, Wilson Chivhanga.
Speaking recently Chivhanga observed that gender biases continue to form part of the social fabric at every level of our society be it at home, in schools, in private and public workplaces, as well as the media.
He said the key to breaking these biases is by challenging harmful norms and practices that parent teach their children in their homes.
“We also need to tackle biases in employment where there is huge gender pay gaps and women are least likely to be promoted. Furthermore, there continues to be a significantly higher percentage of men in leadership positions.
Chivhanga’s sentiments were in direct reference to the Gender Equality Act which calls for a 60:40 gender split in public appointments, recruitment and access to education.
“We all need to call out any biases we see and hold ourselves and each other accountable as organizations. Religious and traditional leaders need to invest more in challenging harmful cultural and religious norms, beliefs and practices which are the brewing ground for all biases.”
He added that “Government must enforce the Gender Equality Act and ensure institutions are compliant. Women need to know that they have power and urgency to stand up and speak out against any biases that they see and face.”
On her part founder and Executive Director of Mzuzu E-Hub, Wangiwe Kambuzi, said she would like to see Malawi challenging the stereotypes especially against women.
“We need to allow women have access to information and opportunities that will support them to become economically independent and self-reliant. All key stakeholders must play a great role towards collaborating to create a conducive environment to break the gender divide in various sectors like digital literacy,” she said.
Kambuzi added that as society transitions in so many areas, it is vital for everyone to be strong and stand against inequalities that exist within communities.