quality has been a problem in Malawi and this included gender equality. On 9th October 2020, women organised demonstrations in cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu. This was to register their displeasure at the appointment of new board members for parastatals. The blame was on President Lazarus Chakwera for choosing very few women as compared to men. To start with, people have the right to demonstrate so as to raise concerns to the authority. Inequality in the appointment of board members is very obvious and may be the appointing authority had a reason for this. So far, for a very long time a number of NGOs have worked on gender inequality so as to correct it. But because of cultural beliefs and greed the problem continues. The other thing is that despite civic education most women are not willing to stand up and be counted. This is unlike men. A man can have no idea about what is being discussed but would still say something to contribute to the discussion.
What one can notice from the board members is that President Chakwera tried to move away from appeasement appointments. He has selected people who are qualified to improve the performance in various organizations. This was unlike in the past when some board members had nothing to write home about. Probably they believed that it was up to the organisations to do well and be successful. Therefore, it is important that both men and women board members should be well qualified. Unfortunately, the majority of women lack exposure and therefore lose chances. For a very long time the Malawi government together with NGOs have been appealing to women to stand up and be counted. The appointing authority cannot just dream names.
Experience has shown that the majority of women are too shy and not willing to stand and talk to people. They have a fear of the unknown. Imagine on national debates it has always been the same women who accept to be panelist. The excuse by the rest of the women is that they do not want to be laughed at. With such mentality how can women be known? Women must know that if they continue to be shy, they give chances to men who might not even be better than women but they like taking chances.
Some of the problems are self made by women themselves. People can remember that President Joyce Banda came into the presidency to finish off late Bingu wa Mutharika’s term. She found problems of load shedding and lack of fuel. She sorted them out within two weeks. By all standards she was a good president. But when time to vote came in 2014 she lost. Where were the women who constitute 52 percent of the population to vote for a fellow woman? This shows that women do not walk the talk. The same Joyce Banda is well recognised in the world as a powerful woman in Africa who has stood up to be counted. Recently, the media has reported that a Nigerian woman Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed as the new and first female Director General of the World Trade Organisation. For her to reach this level she has shown her capabilities. In fact, she was once a Minister of Finance in Nigeria.
There would be no reason for women to demonstrate in order to get into positions of power. Instead they should work hard and show that they are able to work at any position.