By Kondanani Chilimunthaka
Generation Equality on Thursday, has awarded President Lazarus Chakwera for being a male champion of Gender Equality in the country, and African continent.
President Chakwera received award during the High Level Dialogue on Generation Equality and Women Leadership Conference held at the Bingu International Convention Center (BICC) in Lilongwe.
Speaking during the event, President Chakwera who has since his inception as Head of State been speaking and acting positive on gender equality, by among others appointing women in front line senior positions, told the gathering that he has been championing for gender equality even before becoming the State President, and that he will keep advocating until women are equally regarded in the society.
“I, myself has signaled to the world, our seriousness by taking some steps to end institutional gender inequalities at the highest level of the government, including the appointment of the women to 41% of the seats in my cabinet, the appointment of women to head 45% of the Malawi’s foreign missions, and the appointment of women to 50% of the offices I have filled in the judiciary. And I will do everything I can, to champion the election of women to not less than half of the seats in Parliament during the next election.” Said President Chakwera in his speech at the launch of the conference.
With optimism, President Chakwera said that it is possible to do this because he is determined to live up to the values to which he committed Malawi under one of the forums where among others he pledged to promote, expand, protect, organize, mobilize, advance, and increase the meaningful participation, leadership and decision making power of women and girls.
In her remarks, former President for this country Dr Joyce Banda commended President Chakwera for presiding over the ceremony, saying it signified his support and commitment to gender equality and women empowerment.
“Allow me in a very special way to extend my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to our President, His Excellency President Lazarus Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi for presiding over this ceremony. I am particularly delighted your Excellency because one of the objectives of this conference is to facilitate strategic and constructive male engagement, and retention of gender sensitive male champions. Your presence this morning therefore, Your Excellency signifies your support, commitment, and dedication to gender equality and womens empowerment. You are a positive role model for men and young boys, not only in Malawi, but on the continent of Africa, and therefore a male champion for gender equality. It is for this reason that the Generation Equality is honoring you this morning.” Read part of Dr. Joyce Banda’ speech who is also the chairperson for Women Empowerment and Development (WED).
She then told the gathering that it was a celebrating occasion for her, and fellow women as well as men who have been part of the journey to gender equality across the world as the first intergenerational dialogue on Generation Equality and Womens Leadership was being launched, saying it has marked another milestone in the quest to see a world where women and girls can exercise their freedom and choices, realize all their rights, and participate fully in all spaces.
The event attracted dignitaries from various sectors, organizations and countries including the former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Serif, and President Chakwera has since dedicated the award in honor of women whom he said are doing their part to build a New Malawi of Gender Equality.