The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare has sounded the need for employers in the country to be familiar with the Gender Equality Act to deal with gender disparities at work place.
Speaking in Blantyre on Friday during a day-long women coaching and mentoring workshop for the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) women managers, director of gender in the Ministry Peter Msefula bemoaned that despite the Act stipulating that employers should ensure 40 percent women representation in leadership positions, most employers are struggling to attain the requirement.
Said Msefula, “Malawi is a signatory to the Agenda 2063 long term strategy for development of countries in Africa aimed at eliminating any forms of Gender Based Violence, we really need to improve if we are to attain this.”
Currently, Malawi has 16.7 percent representation of women in politics, 11 percent at council level, 24 percent in Civil Service and 3 women cabinet ministers out of 20.
According to Msefula, to address the challenge, they are working with the Ministry of Education Science and Technology and employers to make sure they open up for more women training, through their selection into colleges and scholarships.
“We are aware that women are lagging behind because the education sector is unable to provide the required numbers of women, we call for an improvement. Employers need to develop career development programmes that equally benefit both men and women,” he said.
Msefula highlighted poor access to education for a girl child as a major challenge due to myths/ believes and poverty.
On her part, Escom’s Social and Gender Inclusion Manager Elubie Chienda said the workshop was aimed at enhancing leadership and management skills for workplace effectiveness and career progression among the women.
Chienda called on the women to be self-assertive, hard work and determined to deliver and compete with men.
“At Escom, only 10.34 percent of employees are women. This is because Escom is an engineering institution and not a lot of females in the country’s schools are opting for engineering or technician courses.
This is why we are developing capacity at training level by offering scholarships in training institutions such as the polytechnic and support girls in secondary schools so that they opt for science subjects,” said Chienda.