Malawi’s female lawmakers’ profiles are expected to be raised and promoted following National Initiative for Civil Education (NICE) launch of calendars.
The calendars launch is a response to the worrying trend over recent studies that representation of women in Parliament remains very low.
For instance the recent studies titled, “Women and Power, Representation and Influence in Malawi’s Parliament” attests to this and goes on to recommendation a number of interventions for addressing this unacceptable situation.
One of the major governance areas on which NICE continues to raise the citizens’ awareness is the realization that elevation of gender ideals is a key to the accomplishment of equitable development outcomes.
This is the reason NICE with funding from the Open Society for Southern Africa (OSISA) has launched and hand over calendars with the face of 32 female legislators.
The initiative aims at ensuring that women are promoted to all the levels where they take part in public decision making at all levels. This will lead to a fair distribution of development benefits among men and women, girls and boys and the youth.
Speaking after the official launch of the calendars at Parliament building in the capital Lilongwe, Ollen Mwalubunju, NICE’s Executive Director said time has ripen for women to be encouraged and promoted in ascending to positions of decision making.
Mwalubunju emphasized that through the calendars their voices will be heard and public policies will take these into account hence results of implementation of these policies will equally benefit all citizens regardless of their gender, geographical location or social economic status.
He added that female Members of Parliament (MP)’s calendar is a strong communication that NICE has developed to complement other initiatives that so many other players including NICE itself are undertaking in the promotion of women in Politics in Malawi.
“NICE planned to undertake interventions that would promote understanding among the citizens of the role that women politicians play in development and public policy making, implementation as well as oversight. One of the major activities of this intervention was the production of the women Parliamentarians calendar.
“With this intervention, NICE aimed at undertaking raising awareness among citizens on who are the women parliamentarians, where they are serving and what are some of the major iconic projects that they are spearheading in their areas as one way of raising the profile of women as policy makers, politicians and community leaders.
“NICE as a public vessel for carrying message decided that through this calendar, we would carry the strong message again highlighting the exploits of female parliamentarians in their areas of operation as a way of showcasing what women parliamentarians too are able to lead their constituents into. “Kanthu kali chala” thus without someone highlighting/pointing at what our female leaders are doing in their areas, their efforts and skills may go un noticed, and that is why as a way of supporting women’s political empowerment NICE decided to take an initiative to produce this calendar just as a starting point of more works in support of women’s political empowerment even now before the elections year 2019.
“Additionally, as citizens view the calendar in their homes and offices, it is our sincere belief that both men and women, boys and girls and the youth will be inspired to believe that women too can make strong leaders in development just as these as seen from the calendar have emerged to be,” said Mwalubunju.
He therefore vowed that NICE will continue to engage community members of the significance of gender equality both in terms of numbers of women and men in positions of decision making and support from the citizens towards women that are aspiring to contest for elective office including parliament.
“As the saying goes “mphini yobwerezabwereza ndi imene imacha” we will not tire to sing the same song “vote women into decision making positions” and continue to show as we have done through this calendar that these are some of the achievements that women politicians and leaders can also achieve just like their male counterparts and in some cases even surpassing what their men counterparts can achieve.
“NICE is committed to the development of a more robust and unshakeable relationship with parliament. In particular, we would like to collaborate with the Parliamentary Women Caucus including the building of networks and caucuses among political party members, parliamentarians and CSOs on gender and women empowerment, support the development of local networks for mutual support to act as a base for collaboration among women in Malawian society to call for greater recognition of their role in the political arena.
“It’s our hope this this launch will go a long way in enhancing the promotion of women in politics and decision making as the country prepares for the 2019 General Elections. We look forward to see more women in Parliament in 2019,”said Mwalubunju.