Malawi removes ministry of gender, misses 40/60 target

Malawi removes ministry of gender, misses 40/60 target

Date: July 10, 2020
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For Immediate release


By: Womens Manifesto, NGOGCN, Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance, Men for Gender Equality Now (MEGEN), 50/50 Campaign.

Lilongwe, 9 July: First and foremost, we would like to congratulate Your Excellency Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera and Dr Saulosi Klaus Chilima for being elected President and Vice President of the Republic of Malawi and we take this opportunity to wish you good health and success as you prepare to take up responsibilities and challenges of your high offices.

We therefore look forward to working with you and the Vice President in advancing the Gender Equality Agenda in order to achieve sustainable development of our mother Malawi.

We also commend, your Excellency for the just constituted cabinet which has 38% representation of women, though missing your target of 40% as indicated at the time of your swearing in as President of the Republic of Malawi on 28th June, 2020.

Your Excellency, we, a grouping of several women’s and children’s rights non-governmental organizations and other concerned constituents of women hereby express our concern and disappointment over the omission or scrapping off of Ministry of Gender from the Cabinet portfolios that were presented to the public on Wednesday 8th July 2020. We are of the view that the name Gender needs to stand alone for a number of reasons as explained below:-

  1. It would show highest political will towards the attention to women’s empowerment in the country.
  2. It would give an affirmation of your government’s commitment to Gender equality as this is a human rights issue provided for in a number of national, Regional and International Human rights instruments which Malawi is party to such as CEDAW, Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action among others. Since Beijing Conference on Gender equality held in 1995, all countries have transitioned from Women in Development to Gender and Development and a fully-fledged Gender Ministry with its own budget Minister and budget in most countries has been operational
  3. It would show that your government values accountability on issues of Gender. The proper naming of the Ministry would ensure that accountability measures are put in place in assessing progress towards achievement of Gender equality in the country.
  4. It would also confirm that your government values the principle of leaving no one behind in line with Sustainable Development Goal (especially SDG 5) since this is the Ministry that is expected to handle Gender issues in their broadest terms as well as issues of women and girls who have for a long time been marginalized.

Your Excellency, the advancement of Gender equality is a legal obligation that the Government of Malawi has per the provisions in several Government policies including the overarching policy MGDS as well as several laws such as the Gender Equality Act and most importantly the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi. In addition the Government of Malawi is party to several major human rights instruments which place an obligation on Malawi as a state party to advance women’s rights as well as gender equality. Therefore omitting or scraping off of the Ministry of Gender or indeed having it to be implicitly embedded in another Ministry is a serious grave omission as well as an act that greatly undermines all the gains and progress, Malawi has recorded in advancing women’s rights and working towards attainment of Gender equality.


We therefore demand, that a  stand-alone Ministry of Gender be constituted or alternatively that the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare be reconstituted to become Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability, Community development and social welfare without collapsing everything  it into another portfolio.

The movement also expresses its disappointment over the lack of commitment to adhere to the 40/60 proportion as provided for in the Gender Equality Act. The provisions of the law state that for any public appointments done, there should not be less than 40% and not more than 60% of either sex.  The Cabinet appointments as they stand now at 38.7% female representation are illegal. We therefore demand a revision of the composition of the cabinet in order to meet the 40-60% threshold. We would like to further urge your Excellency that all appointments must follow the same pattern of 40/60 representation of either sex

Women’s manifesto movement is a grouping of like-minded-organizations working to promote women’s rights and gender equality in Malawi. It was formed in 2018 and led in the development of a women’s manifesto for Malawi.

Signed by:

Ms. Maggie Kathewera Banda- 0888 750 183

Women’s Manifesto Coordinator


Ms. Barbara Banda- 0995 752 813

Chairperson -NGOGCN


Ms. Emma Kaliya -0999512 511

Chairperson- Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance/FEMNET


Mr. Marcel Chisi

Chairperson- Men for Gender Equality Now (MEGEN)


One thought on “Malawi removes ministry of gender, misses 40/60 target”

Joseph Kayira says:

Gender rights activists have applauded President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera’s decision to rename the Ministry of Community Service and Social Welfare to Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare.

Chief Secretary in the Office of the President said the ministry will be responsible for gender, child development, persons with albinism, the elderly, disabled and community development.
Some days ago, gender and rights activists chided President Chakwera for removing ‘gender’ in the name of the ministry.

They demanded that: “that a stand-alone Ministry of Gender be constituted or alternatively that the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare be reconstituted to become Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability, Community development and social welfare without collapsing everything it into another portfolio.”

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