Faced with criticism that fewer women are being appointed to public institutions, government has responded by appointing four women and three men to the Non-Governmental Organisations Board (NGO Board).
The appointment of one woman each to the boards of the taxpayer-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) and Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) did not please some sections of society, including United Nations (UN) Women in Malawi.
UN Women said the appointments were against the government’s own gender equality movement as entrenched in the Gender Equality Act passed recently.
NGO Board chief executive officer Voice Mhone yesterday confirmed that Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati has approved the list of nominated people to the board and they include four women.
He said the names were submitted by the Council for Non-Governmental Organisations in Malawi (Congoma) general assembly held last month.
The four women are Sherifa Mia, Abigail Dzimadzi, Mercy Masoo and Emmie Chanika while the men are former Television Malawi boss Rodrick Mulonya, Maxwell Matewere and Maziko Matemba.
The seven will choose the chairperson from among themselves, according to statutes of the NGO Board.
Reacting to her appointment yesterday, Dzimadzi, who is executive director of Malawi Network of Aids Service Organisations (Manaso), commended government for listening to concerns of Malawians regarding inclusion of women in appointments.
She said: “We were nominated by our colleagues in the NGO community and it is them who nominated more women which was a vote of confidence in us [women].”
Masoo, who heads WaterAid in Malawi, also described her appointment as an honour and an indication that Malawi was progressing in the promotion of gender equality.
Apart from UN Women, NGO Gender Coordinating Network (NGO GCN) and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) also condemned the appointment of few women in decision making positions.