Ombudsman Martha Chizuma says there is need to apply existing gender laws and deconstruct prevalent social and gender norms that perpetuate gender inequality in the country.
Speaking in Lilongwe on Sunday during an open lecture organised by Unicaf University to mark the International Women’s Day 2021, she said despite all the legal provisions Malawi has, gender inequality still remains a big concern.
Said the Ombudsman: “We should not have any excuses on why we are failing to promote gender equality. A recent example being that when boards [of directors]were being appointed, the representation of women on those boards left a lot to be desired.
“We have the laws and we just need to have the decency and the integrity to apply them. The Constitution itself has enough protections and provisions guaranteeing equality for women, but hitherto we are not yet there.”
The Ombudsman said Malawi is also party to many international conventions aimed at safeguarding gender equality, but gender inequality is still prevalent because the laws are not fully applied.
In his remarks, Unicaf vice-chancellor Robert Ridley said the institution periodically organises public lectures on important contemporary issues of public interest.
He said: “We hear a lot about gender inequality and gender-based violence; hence, we need a deeper understanding of the underlying reasons behind it. We wanted to take an academic approach and a deeper analysis, taking advantage of the International Women’s Day celebration.
“International Women’s Day is about recognising the many roles that women play in society and giving them the respect and supporting their empowerment that they can develop their lives and capabilities equitably with the rest of society.”
Ridley said Unicaf has an equitable open admission policy which allows any qualified woman to join the university.
The open lecture was held under the theme Choose To Challenge.