The 50:50 Campaign Management Agency has expressed concern with women’s poor performance in the March 30 by-elections which has seen the number of women in Parliament reduce from 45 to 42.
Nine women contested parliamentary seats while no woman vied for local government elections. None of the women won a seat, a development which The 50:50 Campaign Management Agency says is disappointing.
In a statement issued on Wednesday and signed by team leader Viwemi Chavula, the agency said it is worrisome that women continue to flop in elections despite efforts by various stakeholders to empower and have them elected into leadership and decision-making positions.
Reads the statement in part: “Women are losing seats at an alarming rate. We believe this is happening due to lack of commitment from some political leaders to safeguard the seats of women during by-elections.
“The Laws of Malawi, including sections 20, 24 and 40 of the Constitution, and various Acts such as Section 11(1) of the Gender Equality Act (2013), provides for a quota of 40:60/60:40 of either sex in the public service in the recruitment and appointments.”
The agency has since called on political leaders to ensure that they take deliberate efforts to safeguard the fragile numbers of elected women by maintaining female candidacies.
On her part, Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre director Emma Kaliya also expressed disappointment with the reduction of women in Parliament.
She said: “Women in Ntchisi and Nsanje have lost seats and instead of talking about it, we are busy discussing which party has lost and which one has gained.
“Patriarchy is frustrating women and all this can be resolved through establishment of quotas for women or proportional representation. We should have a system where if one gender picks up one position, then the next one should go to another gender.”