The Women’s Manifesto Movement (Women) has handed over the document to the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare for implementation.
The movement comprises the 50:50 Campaign Management Agency, Women Legal Resources Centre (Wolrec), Oxfam, NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN), UN Women, Hivos and Centre for Multiparty Democracy, among others.
Speaking in Blantyre on Friday during the manifesto handover, Wolrec executive director Maggie Kathewera-Banda said the manifesto seeks to promote aspirations of women and hold duty-bearers accountable.
She said despite Malawi having progressive gender laws, many issues affecting women are not being addressed.
Said Kathewera-Banda: “We came up with the manifesto because we needed to have one voice as women. This is an advocacy tool that will be used to remind government on its commitments to the welfare of women in the country.”
She said there are a number of ways to ensure the issues are being implemented, including discussions, negotiations as well as ‘a legal route’ .
In her remarks, NGO-GCN chairperson Barbara Banda said: “What we are demanding is what is already provided for in the Constitution and this will serve as a guiding tool for checks and balances.”
Speaking after receiving the manifesto, Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare director of administration McCallum Sibande hailed the movement for coming up with a manifesto which will help the ministry in its work as the main coordinating body.
He said: “We are the key stakeholders and we will try our best to implement the issues raised. Already, there are efforts being done and this manifesto will help government to be dedicated to implementing issues affecting women.”
During the launch of the manifesto in Lilongwe in March this year, Kathewera- Banda urged political parties to take into consideration the main issues outlined in the document after the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
The manifesto has 11 key demands, including equal representation in leadership positions auch as Cabinet, the establishment of a women’s bank by 2020 to ensure women economic empowerment, improved maternal health services and access to justice.