Malawi’s Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare has said existing patriarchy is a major limitation towards the attainment of four Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
This comes a week after the Council for Non-governmental Organisations in Malawi (Congoma) observed that politics has affected their attainment.
Principal Secretary in the ministry Mary Shawa was speaking at the United Nations (UN) MDG Acceleration Framework Action Plan Validation Workshop in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, on Tuesday.
The four MDGs lagging behind include eradicating extreme poverty, universal primary education, improved gender equality and improved maternal health.
“The problem with patriarchy traditional set up is that most decisions are made by male members of a family. As such, women in these traditional systems get low positions be it in employment and business circles contributing little to development,” said Shawa.
She said even in the matrilineal traditional system, where women are expected to inherit property and make family decisions, it is their uncles and brothers who actually have a say.
Shawa said this is what is causing the four MDGs, which revolve around a woman and girl child, to lag behind.
She added: “Climate change such as unavailability of rainfall and political economy are other factors that have resulted to Malawi’s failure to meet the four MDGs.”
UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Felicitas Zawaira said the UN is hopeful that Malawi would achieve the four MDGs if women and girls are given priorities and are a focal point.
She said while she has seen the commitment between Malawi government and its citizens towards achieving the MDGs, a lot need to be done on promotion of gender equality.
She said: “We are confident that Malawi can still make substantial progress in accelerating the achievement of MDGs. The UN system will stand ready to provide any technical and financial support.”