Minister of Gender says rural women are key leaders in development
15th October was a double celebration in Malawi this year – it is Mother’s Day and the International Day for Rural Women. Speaking on the day at a commemoration event, the Minister of Geander, Community Development and Social Welfare Honourable Dr Patricia Kaliati explained how rural women have a key role to play in the development of Malawi.
Dr Patricia Kaliati said limited access to credit, health care and education are major challenges affecting the development of women in rural areas. “Women living in rural areas are key agents for achieving the transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development”, said Minister Kaliati at the commemoration of the day at Gogo school ground, TA Chiwere in Dowa.
The Minister noted that the challenges rural women face affect their productivity in developing their communities. “These challenges are further aggravated by the global food crisis, economic crisis and climate change” said the Minister, who asssured rural women that the government had put in place policies that would support them.
“Today is a very special day because we are having a double commemoration: International Rural Women’s Day and Mothers’ Day. Women’s issues are at the heart of the Tonse Alliance Government hence the commitment to commemorate these important days with you” said Minister Kaliati.
“Rural women and girls are leaders in agriculture, food security and nutrition, land, natural resource management and unpaid/domestic care work.
“They are at the frontline when natural resources and agriculture are threatened. In fact, globally, one in three employed women work in agriculture. Women also collect biomass fuels, manually process food materials, and pump water; 80% of households without piped water rely on women and girls for water collection”.
The International Day of Rural Women recognises the role of women living in rural areas in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty. This year’s theme was “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19”.
The Social Cash Transfers Programme (SCTP) helps rural women by giving those enrolled in the programme regular payments to help them improve their standard of living.