First Lady Monica Chakwera has said the 2024 International Women’s Day commemoration should make the country reflect on the gaps which still exist and pose a threat to empowerment of women in various sectors and positions in the society.

Chakwera made the remarks on Friday at Jenda Community Day Secondary School Ground in Mzimba where she presided over the commemoration of the 2024 International Women’s Day held under the theme, ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’.

She stressed that women have the potential to achieve great things for their country if empowered and supported.

Said Chakwera: “For several years, our efforts in empowering women have been faced with serious gaps, amongst them being financial in nature. As we gather here to celebrate the strides so far achieved, let’s acknowledge the gaps that exist which are making us not to empower women enough.

“We need to re-energise our vision in uplifting women. I appeal to both local and international partners to render their support to the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare in uplifting women’s livelihoods.”

“Government has increased the number of women in different public positions in an effort to empower women which is a right direction we’ve taken as a nation,” added the First Lady.

She said about 12,000 girls in secondary schools are currently on the verge of dropping out of school due to lack of school fees and other necessities and called for more efforts to be put into the education of girls.

In her remarks, Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Jean Sendeza, called for more support in women representation in politics, saying women continue to experience challenges when they aspire to take up various positions.

“It’s becoming harder for women to excel in politics or venture into certain businesses as they experience various setbacks such as name calling. We all have a responsibility in ensuring that women empowerment becomes a reality.

“As a ministry, we instituted various policies in ensuring women empowerment but only 0.2% of our country’s budget is what is allocated in women empowerment,” said Sendeza.

United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malawi, Rebecca Addah- Dontoh, said the commemoration of the day should be a reminder for the need of investing in women empowerment as a strategic investment in global prosperity, particularly at a time when the world is facing effects of climate change.

“The United Nations reaffirms its commitment in partnering with Malawi in the reinforcement of the Gender Equality Act to empower women. I would like to acknowledge the recent floods that affected more than 40,000 people in Nkhotakota. Such calamities have a profound effect on women, who are usually faced with a great responsibility of ensuring their families survive through such tough times,” said Dontoh.

Also speaking at the event, representative for Non-Governmental Organisation – Gender Coordination Network (NGOGCN), Davie Jodali, thanked the First Lady for her commitment in advancing girl’s education in the country, saying her gesture enables inclusion of women.

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