United Nations (UN) Women have called on men to be in forefront supporting women to be elected in different leadership positions in society, as a way of empowering them and enhancing their participation in politics.
The UN Women said issues of women empowerment have been on the ground for some time now and thought of engaging men to fight for and support women who are aspiring for various political and any other decision-making positions in their community.
Taking on board men to support women is a strategy most advocates believe will assist to have more women elected into positions come the 2019 tripartite elections.
It is also believed that with men aboard towards the promotion of women, violence against the latter will be minimized.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) on the sidelines of an orientation of stakeholders on ‘He for She’ campaign on Tuesday in Zomba, UN Women Programme Specialist, Habiba Osman, said lack of capacity and mentorship for women aspirants was one of the key indicators for their inadequate participation in politics.
“Most of the women fail to get political positions because they don’t know what to do to reach that far,” Osman said.
Osman added that lack of resources amongst the women also contributes to them not getting more positions.
“Lack of resources and confidence to stand and express themselves in public is another challenge that women face, as a result, they give more room to men,” she said.
She said the UN Women noted that one of the barriers that already exists in politics include lack of strategies by political parties to deliberately incorporate women during elections where issues of gender are not clearly defined.
She said United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Women came up with a study globally which established that women face various forms of violence, not only as aspirants but also as women voters.
“The majority of those that vote during elections in most of the countries are women and yet they are the ones that suffer most consequences of political violence,” she explained.
Osman, therefore, called on partners to take action by supporting and promoting women to take part in various activities in the country to achieve meaningful and sustainable development.
Vice Chairperson for Zomba Pastors Fraternal, Reverend Elijah Kamvabingu, concurred with Osman, saying there is need to advocate for women empowerment in the country.
He said the women need guidance and counseling on how they could effectively speak in public and get exposed in the society for them to get into leadership positions.
Kamvabingu assured the UN Women who work with various partners in disseminating messages on women empowerment to the community, that: “As churches in Zomba, we will be in the forefront preaching about the importance of electing women in different positions.”
During the meeting, which attracted community based organizations, youth clubs, religious and traditional leaders, political party representatives, aspiring candidates and ward Councilors, men agreed to take gender as a weapon for development through the ‘He for She’ campaign.