A new survey by Afrobarometer has shown that 57 percent of Malawians believe that government has performed “fairly well” or “very well” in promoting opportunities and equality for women in the country.
However, the survey on gender equality and women’s political engagement in Malawi indicates only 50 percent of the respondents see real progress on these issues in recent years.
The results also indicate that gender gaps persist in the country despite popular support for equal opportunity.
Presenting the results in Blantyre yesterday, Happy Kayuni, an associate professor in the Political and Administrative Studies Department at Chancellor College in Zomba, said a majority of Malawians say women should have the same rights as men to own and inherit land, 80 percent, to get a job (68 percent), and to be elected to political office (72 percent).
“Regarding the current realities, a majority of Malawians say that girls and women do have access to the same life opportunities as boys and men when it comes to getting an education, earning an income, get a paying job, and own or inherit land.
“More than nine of 10 respondents say wife-beating is ‘never justified’. More than one in five Malawian women say they experienced gender-based discrimination in the past year—double the proportion among men [nine percent],” said Kayuni.
The survey also highlighted that Malawian women are less likely than their male counterparts to engage in political activities such as discussing politics, joining others to raise an issue, attending a campaign rally and contacting a member of Parliament (MP).
Commenting on the results, NGO-Gender Coordinating Network chairperson Emma Kaliya expressed happiness with the 57 percent but said there is need to do more because sometimes the figures are mere perceptions.
Sharing Kaliya’s sentiments, Jessie Kabwila, chairperson of Parliamentary Women Caucus, said there is still need to do more.
However, commenting on the findings, Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi said 57 percent for government’s efforts to promote equality and opportunities for women is little. He said government deserved 100 percent.