By Joshua Mphanda, MEC Stringer

Chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission, Dr. Jane Ansah has challenged political parties to score a point in the ongoing 50:50 campaign by appointing more women into key positions.

Ansah made these remarks on Wednesday in Lilongwe at a two day National Conference for Gender Equality in Political Parties the commission organized.

She deplored lack of political will, inadequate resources and stereotypes within the society as some of the reasons there are few woman representatives in parliament.

“Create an environment where woman can freely stand up for their rights and participate then everything will be okay. If women are given positions in political parties at the convention then they will develop as they go higher,” said Ansah.

She also urged chiefs, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and party National Executive Council (NEC) members to level the playing field for aspirants so that women can participate in development of the country.

Commenting on the matter, Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Grace Chiumia who represented the Minister of Gender at the conference, said government is coordinating the 50:50 campaigns.

“As government we are very much committed to support women as you know that our president is a champion of ‘He for She’ campaign. This is the time for Malawians to come out and support women who can deliver,” said Chiumia.

Meanwhile Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga and Chitipa district has since beseeched traditional leaders to mobilize their people and make sure they understand the 50:50 campaigns.

“The most important thing is for us chiefs to mobilize our subjects and make sure they understand that women without looking at their political party affiliation have the potential to lead at council level, parliamentary level and even presidential level,” said Kyungu.

In the 2014 tripartite elections, women representatives in parliament fell  from 42 to 32 which raised alarms on gender inequality despite Malawi being a signatory of various international women rights treaties.