The Minister said this at Mitundu in Lilongwe during the joint commemoration of world rural women’s day and year of women empowerment.
The Gender Minister who was also involved in civic education on gender issues to women and girls who were present at the event said, she is aware that most women especially those from the rural set up are vulnerable to different abuses from men, and that many women die before attaining the age of 50.
Said Kaliati;” many rural women die before attaining the age of 50, only a few manage to attain the age of 50 and 60. It is my appeal to you all women in the country to go for HIV testing so that you know your sero status and move forward with your life.”
She therefore urged all the women in the country to have the challenge of denying any abuse from men.
“Most of you suffer abuse from your husbands, when they see you are of no use to him, he turns to abuse you in any way that he could. Some go to court to have their marriages dissolved, but the magistrates sometimes give penalties that are questionable to women.
“I urge you all that whenever you feel oppressed by the judgments by the magistrates in courts given out to you, come to our ministry, we have a lawyer who will look at your case and assist you fight for you in court for free until you get justice,” said Kaliati.
On her part, United Nations Country Representative Mia Seppo said, she was happy that the Sustainable, Development Goals (STGs) that have just been adopted by the United Nations this year, also include issues of women and girls.
“What we need to do as Malawi nation is to be alert so that by 2030 which is the year of target, all the STGs are fulfilled without giving out excuses as it was the case with the just ended Millennium Development Goals,” urged Seppo.
The UN country Representative also discovered that there are more women in agriculture than men but they are not recognized and they do not have access to land and inputs.
“Women work hard to feed this nation but they produce less because they do not have access to land and farm inputs, it is time now that women have to be given land of their own,” she suggested.
Also present at the function, Chair of the woman caucus in Parliament, Dr Jessie Kabwila Kapasula concurred with Kaliati saying for Malawi to develop, a rural woman should not be left behind.
This year’s joint commemoration of world rural women’s day and year of women empowerment was set aside by the United Nations in 2007 and was commemorated under the theme; Women empowerment- a drive for social- economic empowerment.