By Vincent Khonje
Women in Kasungu continue to lag behind in taking up leadership positions in local government structures.
According to Governance Gender and Justice Development Centre (GGJDC) a women rights advocacy organisation there are still a few women who are in structures at local government level and there is need for much effort to empower them to be in these structures.
GGJDC Project Officer for Women Empowerment for Leadership (WE4L), Grace Makuti said in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) that men still dominate most leadership roles in most structures found at local government level.
Makuti said for the past years there have been efforts to put women in political positions but only a few made it through the May elections, so there is need to shift the effort to put more women in leadership positions in local government structures pointing out Area and Village Development Committees (ADC and VDCs) among them.
?Currently GGJDC has established community based Women Forums in the Traditional Authorities of the district with the aim of advancing advocacy for women and girls rights and also promote women participation in various structures in their communities,? said Makuti.
Makuti added that previous engagement with traditional leaders has also proved that number of women taking up the leadership positions in the communities is starting to improve and there is hope that more women will be included in ADCs and VDCs.
Also commenting on the issue District Gender Officer John Washali said with efforts from several organizations in the district there is hope that more women will be empowered to be part of leadership in several local structures.
?We have seen several efforts by many organizations coming forward since the time prior to elections to help women to be in leadership position. I am only hopeful we will reach a very good number,? said Washali.
One of the women Eneless Phiri who is also chairing a Women Forum in Traditional Authority Kaomba said currently women are becoming more understanding on the importance of them to be in leadership positions.
?Most of the women underrate themselves and feel they cannot stand up in front of men, however as women forums we are there to encourage these women that they have what it takes to lead in most structures in the communities,? said Phiri.
GGJDC with support from Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through HIVOS is implementing WA4L project in Kasungu, Lilongwe and Mchinji in trying to empower women in the districts to take leadership roles in structures at the local government level.