By: Eric Nantchengwa
The Parliamentary Women Caucus-Malawi has urged political parties to foster the adoption of the Equality Act that will facilitate the representation of women in parliament.
Politically, women continue to be sidelined both nationally and in their respective parties, although the presence of women in the National Assembly steadily increased from 5.65 percent in 1994 to 22.85 percent in 2009 it decreased to 16.7 during 2014 Tripartite Elections.
In terms of numbers, women representation in the National Assembly was reduced from 43 in 2009 to 32 in 2014, this is way below the SADC Protocol threshold of 50:50 and in cabinet there are only three women out of 20 cabinet ministers.
The call was made in Lilongwe the PWC strategic plan workshop facilitated by UN Women for gender equality and Empowerment.
During the meeting, it was divulged that there is a great need to increase a number of female representation in parliament at the next elections.
Chairperson for the Parliamentary Women Caucus Dr Jessie Kabwila said it is high time political parties embrace policies and legislation’s that target women from formulation to implementation.
”Government and political parties need to have interest in women and gender insensitive issues if the country is to attain the target of making gender inequality by 2030.
According to the documentation that was made available to The Malawi Star, the retention of women has continued to decrease since 1999 in comparison to men. In 1999 only 4 of the 17 women MPs were retained, in 2004 only 6 out of 27 were retained, in 2009 only 3 out of 43 were retained and in 2004 only 6 out of 32 women MPs were retained.
The PWC is a cross party grouping of all female members of the National Assembly including cabinet ministers, deputy ministers and deputy speakers who automatically became members of the caucus upon their election to the National Assembly.