President Joyce Banda against wife inheritance, land grabbing from women and other harmful traditional practices0 Comments

By MANA-Online
Posted on 18 Apr 2013 at 8:23am

Traditional leaders in the country have been called upon to eradicate harmful traditional practices which impinge on the progression of women and girls in the socio-economic activities.

The call was made by President Dr. Joyce Banda on Friday at St. John the Baptist – Daughters of Mary Immaculate (DMI) in Mangochi during this year’s commemoration of International Women’s Day which officially falls on 8th March annually.

President Joyce Banda visiting a mother and her new baby born at the hospital

President Joyce Banda visiting a mother and her new baby born at the hospital

“I would like to appeal to traditional leaders in the country to sensitize their subjects on the dangers of perpetuating practices which hinder the progression of women,” the president said, citing human trafficking, wife inheritance, property grabbing as some of the practices which needed to be eliminated.

Banda said although government had come up with a number of policies and programmes to protect women, violence against women continued to be on the rise which required concerted efforts to overcome the abuses and discrimination against the marginalized group.

She said government would remain committed to efforts aimed at addressing gender based violence by among other things, empowering them to be in critical decision making positions.

“It is very pleasing to note that many people in the country have joined me on the journey to empowering women – most of whom are in rural areas. The country is poised for more growth in the years to come since we have embarked on wealth and job creation initiative,” she added.

The president also said government had decided to invest in young people and women based on good governance by ensuring that women have access to quality health services and capital for business entrepreneurship in a bid to transform them into a medium economy.

Banda further observed that socio–economic empowerment was necessary to poverty eradication and acceleration of the realization of the Millennium Development Goals through agricultural productivity to bring income at household level.

On this note, Banda said HIV and Aids continued to be prevalent among women which was why government has made deliberate efforts to make anti–retroviral therapy not only available but also easily accessible.

“In the same manner, we have rolled out a nutrition programme targeting 2.7 million people out of whom 65percent are women and the remaining 45 percent being children,” she said adding “We reckon that if we educate a woman, we have educated the entire nation.”

Banda, therefore, thanked the country’s development partners for their significant contribution in ensuring women’s contribution towards the development of the country was recognized.

Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Anita Kalinde said the day was set aside by the United Nations to promote the rights of women and girls due to their vulnerability in society, considering that they (women) contribute to a country’s economy as well as the health and wellbeing of families.

“As we strive to restore women’s self esteem and ensure they become self-reliant, we need to eradicate all forms of gender based violence which present themselves in form of wife battering, sexual abuse, defilement, early marriages and denial to livelihood support,” Kalinde said.

Kalinde thanked the president for her personal commitment to empowering women in all aspects of life, saying the president had demonstrated that she was a model and fighter for rights of women.

United Nations Population Fund Resident Representative, Athanase Nzokirishaka said this year’s Women’s Day theme renewed the commitment attached to the empowerment of women, saying it was saddening that violence against women and girls constitutes a shameful crime.

Nzokirishaka commended the Government of Malawi for passing the gender equality Act, noting that Malawi was among the few countries that have a comprehensive national response to gender based violence.

He also pledged United Nation’s commitment to strengthening and expanding efforts to support the government to bring an end to gender based violence.

“Gender based violence remains a major health and human rights concern and no meaningful human development can be achieved as long as women and girls who constitute over half of the population continue to suffer from violence,” he added.

The theme for this year’s commemoration is: ‘A promise is a promise, time for action to end violence against women.’

By Arnold Namanja