A consortium of three non-governmental organisations (NGOs) says it is committed to addressing challenges that limit women’s participation in leadership of decentralised structures in Neno District.
The three NGOs—Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC), Association of Progressive Women (APW) and Gender Support Programme (GSP)—met on Friday to find out why few women were leading development committees.
In his remarks, APW executive director Noel Msiska said sustainable development will be a far-fetched dream without women’s involvement.
He said: “For a long time, women have been regarded as inferior to men. They cannot go beyond the kitchen, bearing children and managing homes.
“Despite tribal differences, we all embrace patriarchy system in leadership that oppresses women’s right to development.”
Msiska also said they will intensify women empowerment campaigns for communities to uphold women’s rights.
GSP programme coordinator Anthony Mkupira said women struggle for common good and that their empowerment is critical to the district’s sustainable development.
Neno District community development officer Roseline Vulumende commended the NGOs’ commitment to help achieve gender equity in decentralised committees.
Traditional Authority (T/A) Mlauli said the meeting challenged communities to unravel some societal beliefs that hinder women’s opportunities to lead.
One of the participants, Emmie Tchado said they look forward to the project’s interventions to gain self-confidence.
During the meeting, women cited gender stereotypes, lack of self-confidence and support as some of the challenges that prevent them from leading various committees.
The three NGOs are implementing a Women in Governance Project with funds from Hivos.