The Pan African Civic Educators Network (Pacenet) has described the low participation of women in leadership positions as worrisome and retrogressive in a country which is conducting a 50-50 campaign.
Pacent executive director Steve Duwa said this in Chiradzulu, southern Malawi recently after observing that only 12 women filed nomination papers to the district council to contest as members of Parliament and that only seven showed interest to contest as councillors.
Duwa noted that the current state of affairs is a drawback to the women empowerment agenda.
“During the 2009 General Elections, Chiradzulu was one of the districts that had a lot of female contestants and three of them won the parliamentary seats. This time, the number is on the lower side. Why? We should have expected more women,” said Duwa.
According to one of the female aspirants vying for a seat in Chiradzulu Central Constituency, Claire Kachapira, women do not want to participate in elections because they face many challenges.
“Some people use derogatory remarks during campaign rallies. This forces women to pull out of the race as they cannot take insults,” said Kachapira.
Thirty-eight aspirants presented their nomination papers for parliamentary elections in the district; 12 of whom were women while 58 aspirants presented their nomination papers for Local Government Elections, seven of whom are women.