The Minister said that Malawi is among three Member States in Africa that have more employment rate for women after Rwanda and Burundi.
“The Government of Malawi is committed to ensure that women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work is a reality. It is against this background that at the continental level, Malawi is among the three Member States in Africa that have more employment rate for women after Rwanda and Burundi,” she said.
Kalilani further said that Malawi has defined the economic empowerment of women as the increased women’s access, control and benefit to factors of production such as land, technology, capital, training, marketing and labor. She therefore called upon policy makers, advocates, researchers and activists to work and strategize to mobilise and plan new initiatives and actions to further the women’s economic empowerment.
“Malawi has mobilized women groups to engage in economic empowerment in order to formalize the informal sector through the creation of cooperatives. Technology has been provided for value addition, quality control and packaging for marketing,’ she added.
She further stated that Malawi is at a point of compiling the products catalogue as an international marketing strategy and the Buy Malawi Campaign positions women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work at the centre of achievement of the sustainable development goals and Beijing platform of Action.
The Minister called upon men to help in caring for children in order to give women space to effectively participate in economic empowerment.
“I wish to assure you that putting money in the women’s pockets is uplifting the family because 90% of it is invested in the family needs compared to 30% by men,” she said.
In his remarks, the Malawian Ambassador to the United Nations Necton Mhura said that it is essential for Malawi to share its success globally as the country has made a lot of progress on economic empowerment of women especially on the value chain addition and the Buy Malawi Campaign. He invited partners to join with Malawi in ensuring that the progress made reaches and benefits more Malawians.
Chairperson of NGO-Board Emma Kaliya emphasized the critical role that CSO’s in Malawi play in the economic empowerment of women.
“The work of CSO’s in Malawi is to amplify the voices of marginalized women, lobby for the implementation of gender instruments, conduct research to provide evidence based interventions, work with government to develop laws and policies and lobby parliament to enact the laws; and link women to markets,” said Kaliya.
Parliamentary Women’s Caucus Chairperson Jessie Kabwira applauded Malawian men for their decisive support in the enactment of the laws which promote gender equality, women economic, social and political empowerment; ending child marriage, trafficking in person and the constitutional review on the age of the child across party lines.
Outgoing Secretary for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Mary Shawa emphasized on the policies which government has put in place such as capacity building, establishment of Women’s Fund, signing of the COMESA Trade Agreement for women, promotion of green economy through provision of solar energy and environmental friendly products; and processing quality control, packaging, and marketing as part of the Buy Malawi Campaign.
The side event had on display products made by Malawian women which included laptop and phone bags made from chitenje, preserved export quality tomatoes by Kwithu Kitchen and agricultural produce from local Malawi women which attracted a lot of attention and demand.