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Learn more about the rationaile behind 50:50 Campaign

Overall, there is under-representation of women in positions of leadership and decision making positions in many key institutions like political parties, cabinet, parliament and even local councils. To illustrate this point, in 1999, women representation in the National Assembly was about 9%. In 2004, the representation went up to 15% and in the 2009 election it reached just below 21% out of the 193 seats (Nandin Patel, et al, 2009). In the 2014 elections, a significant drop to 16% in the representation was experienced. For local government councils, in 2000, women constituted only 8% of all the councilors in Malawi. There has been a marginal increase to 13% in 2014. Several factors have contributed to this.

Evidence from the few women who manage to occupy decision-making positions indicates that the enormous challenges they face discourage other women from aspiring to join politics. Further, discrimination against women and female youth at community level has the effect of limiting public confidence in the capabilities of women and female youth in high-level decision making such as Parliament and Councils. According to the most recent Afro-barometer of June 2017, 72% of Malawians believe that women should have the same chance as men to be elected to public office; and yet few actually vote for women. Sadly, the perception to have a gendered society has not been translated to votes for women.

As a result, access and participation of women and female youth in decision making of the political parties is generally low. While data, though limited, show trends in the progression of women and female youth to higher positions in Malawi, the rate of progression is slow and not constant resulting in few women in those political party positions and unable to make constructive change to internal structures and processes of institutions in response to girls and women’s needs. None of the political parties have gender policies in place. Despite engagements with political parties to have their systems and policies gendered, women have continued to be reduced as supporters, and few ascend to leading roles.

Enhancing Democratic Leadership

50:50 Campaign aims to inspire, encourage and support women in being elected to Council positions, Parliament seats and as presidents. The Campaign also engages all political parties to solutions around women leadership from ground-up. We need the best of both, men and women together in all political leadership positions.

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International Level Gender Commitments

Malawi is a signatory to various international gender equality agreements: CEDAW; BDPA, Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa, African Charter on popular participation etc.


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National Level Gender Commitments

Malawi Constitution (2004) has gender equality provisions. Other legislations include: Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II, Gender Equality Act, Malawi Gender Policy Malawi, Gender Action Plans-UN Malawi etc.


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Supporting & voting for women begins with us all

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