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Economic Justice and Equality Development in Malawi

Economic justice is described as the idea that if an economy is to be successful then it must be fairer. The objective of economic justice is create equal opportunities for all citizens to thrive and that prosperity and justice go hand-in-hand rather than in opposition to one another. Economic justice comes in the forms of a universal basic income as well as income equality by gender and race. Equal opportunity for employment and credit is to be created in order to allow all people to reach their full potential.

Several restrictions to economic equality exist in Malawi, particularly in areas that are associated with developing and propelling women into positions where they too can contribute towards economic prosperity. Limited access to education leads to major inequalities in the country, the enrollment of boys in secondary and tertiary education remains threefold that of the enrollment of girls. The opportunities available are also restricted by social norms that see women as caretakers and wives thus leaving no room for the achievement of an education. Women are also faced with challenges such as property rights especially when it comes to issues of land ownership and although policies have been created to alleviate this matter, miniscule impact has been created as can be seen from the silence of Malawi’s Land policy on equal inheritance and land rights for women. Customs that perpetuate the inferior status of many women exist across the country such as wife inheritance and property grabbing and the idea of protecting women in employment and business is completely disregarded.

Several steps have, however, been taken to combat issues of inequality and economic justice. The Industrial Relations Court have created easier pathways for women to access justice through simple and straightforward procedures and an attitude that puts women. Matters of unfair dismissal and health discrimination have been presented to the court. Examples include dismissal of women by their employers for testing HIV-positive or having to undergo reproductive health procedures. Other women complained that they had been demoted and psychologically harassed for falling pregnant and were even dismissed after taking maternity leave.

Although the Industrial Relations Court has issued progressive judgments on women’s economic rights even with assistance from the Gender Equality Act, there has been a slow increase in the number of women seeking economic justice and this is due to the stigma associated with women’s rights in the country. So although these institutions and acts are currently in place, the lack of encouragement towards their use will continue to result in stagnating progress of economic justice for women and the abolishment inequality.

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