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MALAWI: WOMEN IN POLITICS


More priority needs to be placed on bringing more women into Parliament and decision-making positions


The outcomes of the elections were far from reaching any substantive gender parity goals. First, women performed dismally, winning only 30 of the 193 seats. Second, and most importantly, a large number of women from the 2009 to 2014 cohort of Parliament did not retain their seats. As for Dr Banda, in this closely contested election, her performance – though gallant – did not secure her presidency, coming third out of the 12 candidates that ran for office. The legacies of Dr Banda during


her time in office are multiple, and will vary according to the issue. So, while various commentators have focused on a number of legacies from the President’s two years in office, we choose to view her legacy from the perspective of women in contemporary politics in Malawi. Using the Dr Banda legacy as a backdrop, the question of the participation of Malawian women in politics will be examined more from an activism than a research perspective. The arguments are focused on Parliament


180 | The Parliamentarian | 2014: Issue Three


as the one level of the political structure in Malawi.


Spurring debate and promoting critical thinking on this important topic will help contribute to the discourse that is currently focusing on challenging the underrepresentation of Malawian women in Parliament and other political and decision- making structures. Only if we are clear about where we started from or are starting from, where we want to get to, and the path to get from one to the other, will we get it right. Unfortunately,


the policies and programmes that have been implemented so far to propel women into politics and build a critical mass of an effectively capacitated pool of women on the political front, has not delivered the much needed and expected outcomes.


The 50-50 Campaign


The 50-50 campaign, which was run with the aim of ushering an increased number of women into politics, was deemed unsuccessful for a number


©Brendan Howard


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