Thanks to democracy, women are now allowed to vote as well as hold political and leadership positions. Things have greatly changed for the better, the number of women in parliament and in big positions has increased over the years. The current government tried to include women leadership positions when it appointed twelve women in its cabinet. Of course, the number is very disappointing but when compared to the previous government, some of us are a little bit convinced that perhaps things we are heading in the right direction.
Over the years, women and different organizations have been fighting for representation and the 50:50 campaign brought us hope in the fight against inequality when it was launched in 2015 by the ministry of Gender, Disabilities and Social Welfare, together with the Norwegian government. The sole purpose of this campaign is fighting for women representation in politics as well as leadership positions.
In Malawian politics, women continue to be used by political parties in various ways. The most notable ones include, women serving as party dancers, entertainers and mouthpieces who are used to make noise and air insults during political rallies and functions. When assigned roles in the political parties, women take up the positions which are usually labeled feminine or of less powerful. Positions like, spokesperson, secretary, treasurer, social welfare director or simply vice president to a male leader. It is very clear that most women in politics are not regarded as equals to the men in politics. With time, we hope to see more women in top and powerful leadership positions both in government and the private sector. We hope that women will be given a chance not because they are women, but because they have the potential like their male counterparts.
As much as the number of women in leadership and politics is noteworthy, what matters most is the impact they bring forth when serving in those positions. When we talk of women representation we talk of both substantial and descriptive representation. The absence as well as the presence of women in such positions must be felt by everyone. We shouldn’t vote for women just because we want to meet the target demanded of us by the 50:50 campaign, we should vote for women because we believe in their capability and potential as leaders.
So, when I vote for women, I choose to be well represented as a human being and as a woman in parliament and in decision making platforms. I choose change for all the women in the country and I choose to be heard. When I vote for a woman, I should be able to sit down and relax knowing that my needs, struggles and challenges will be well addressed.
Do you think things would have been better for women if more women were appointed in leadership positions in different sectors?