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Women’s political representation in Malawi on the increase

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With help from a 50/50 programme (committing South African countries to work towards 50% women in political and decision-making positions by 2015), 22% of Malawi’s MPs are now women.

But to get there, female candidates had to overcome several hurdles on their way to candidacy, Victor Maulidi of the NGO Gender Coordinating Network said. This included a lack of money, isolation from the economic system, and an environment hostile to their candidacy.

“Women are denied economic rights and politics is very commercialised,” Maulidi said of the situation in Malawi. “The hostile environment in which they operate doesn’t give them a lot of support.”

The reaction from political parties to the female candidates was mixed, Maulidi said, with some accepting the female candidates and others reacting coolly.

Money for the candidates was also a major problem, despite a one million dollar donation to the programme from the Norwegian government.

Read the full story on IPS news.

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