Women across the globe are celebrating their day which falls on 8 March every year.
In Malawi, organisations lobbying for women’s rights and protection such as Just Associates, Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), Gender and Justice Unit and Our Bodies Our Rights say involvement and engagement of men in programmes to end Gender Based Violence is key to eradicating the vice.
The organisations made the unilateral decision during a panel discussion in Lilongwe on issues that affect women as part of commemorating the International Women’s Day.
Country Coordinator for Just Associates Sibongile Singini said violence against women is exacerbated by cultural and religious beliefs as men are deemed as rulers hence they oppress women in society and receive different kinds of sexual, physical and mental abuses.
“If we are to make significant efforts towards ending GBV, men ought to be roped in through the programmes that we do as a means to end the malpractice. Women too need to be economically empowered because when women are financially sound cases of violence are minimal,” Singini said.
One of the participants at the event, Pastor Master Kachigunda who is district interfaith leader for Lilongwe, highlighted the need for church leaders across the country to be also at the forefront in fighting gender-based violence unleashed on women.
“As religious leaders, we have a role to work with organisations that are helping women to claim their rights once abused. For instance, am already working with Just Associates and Gender and Justin Unit and others to ensure our women are protected and know their rights and bodies,” Kachigunda commented.
The theme for this year is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.” The theme highlights how technology is crucial to advancing rights but a growing digital gender gap is impacting everything from women’s job opportunities to safety online.
According to the U.N. fewer women have access to the internet than men, and women are largely underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.
A World Health Organization report in 2021 found that nearly one in three women worldwide is subjected to physical or sexual violence during her lifetime, an issue that ties to women’s economic opportunities, access to sex education and reproductive rights.