A two day stakeholder’s reflection meeting on the 50:50 campaign in Lilongwe ended with members agreeing to among other things make the campaign ongoing instead of the once-off-event it was during the just ended tri-partite elections.
Speaking during the opening of the meeting, minister for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati indicated that the 50:50 campaign had made achievements, but that it was not satisfying. She however promised that the ministry will work hard towards making the gender movement an achievable goal.
“My ministry will do everything possible to ensure that the challenges we faced are part of history. My ministry will do everything possible to ensure that we all have a conducive environment to implement our activities. The task is not easy but we need to be united like never before,” Kaliati stated.
She therefore asked women politicians who had made it during the just ended elections to help others to make it in 2019.
Kaliati added that the failure of the campaign to succeed was due to among other issues the little time it received, not clearly defining the target audience, lack of resources by aspirants and the campaign having few leaders.
“Let us examine our achievements, the challenges we have gone through, the lessons learnt and the way forward in honesty and sincerity. Otherwise, the gender movement will always be at the same place and singing the same song. Time is now, let us unite and do it. Let me wish you well as you share notes and brainstorm for the betterment of the Malawi woman,” she emphasised.
The meeting was convened to assess the impact of the 50:50 campaign on the just ended tripartite elections, as well as to see what needs to be done to ensure the success of the campaign in upcoming elections.
During the closure of the meeting, Secretary for the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Mary Shawa asked participants to reflect on what was discussed at the meeting and think of ways to resolve the issues raised during the event.
“70% of the poorest of the poor in the country are women. We need to come up with ways to empower them. Let us start thinking about creating a Women’s Economic Empowerment Loan Fund to improve the situation,” she said.
In the 2014 elections, 261 women contested, but only 32 made it, registering a slump from the previous 22% in 2009 representation of women to 16% in 2014.
The meeting opened on 21 August and ended on 22 August 2014, attracting a wide range of participants including parliamentarians, political party leaders, traditional leaders, women councilors who both won and failed to make it in the just ended elections, United Nations officials and civil society organizations.