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Towards Equality in Decision Making

The president has appointed Merlyne Yolamu as the new Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service. Even though her appointment is subject to approval by parliament, we can't help but be optimistic about the changes this appointment will bring to the Malawi Police service.

Its high time we realized that to achieve gender balance and to fully benefit from it, women must fill up such kind of decision-making positions in various sectors. It is very important that these appointments be based solely on merit and not just to scale up the 50: 50 balance. Appointing women in decision making positions ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in decision-making.

I for one believe that a lot of problems which women face, for instance sexual harassment and all kinds of harassment which women face in offices or different departments would be highly reduced. Remember the case of Mr. Sumbuleta of MBC who got away with harassing women for years and of commissioner Stan Kaliza of the Malawi Police Service who exploited a large number of women in the service for years without being held accountable. Do you believe these men could have gotten away with such offences if the officers where the victims went to file complaints were women? I for one have felt the safest where women were in top positions at an institution because I know they can relate to my problems, issues and more.

An article by Paola Profeta on Gender Equality in Decision making positions reported that the beneficial effects of gender equality and diversity are even clearer when we concentrate on decision making positions. This means that we cannot say we have achieved gender equality if women are not involved in top decision-making positions.

Involving women in decision making broadens the perspectives, improves the process of decision making and may better represent various interests. We can’t expect men to make decisions which directly affect us on our behalf.

If parliament approves this appointment, Merlyne Yolamu will become the first official female Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service.

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