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POVERTY AND GENDER IN MALAWI. BY MAGGIE KATHEWERA BANDA WOMEN’S LEGAL RESOURCES CENTRE-MALAWI. CONTEXT. CONTEXT Malawi is a landlocked country in Southern Africa - east of Zambia, north & west of Mozambique, and south of Tanzania. MALAWI :. CONTEXT.

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poverty and gender in malawi

POVERTY AND GENDER IN MALAWI

BY

MAGGIE KATHEWERA BANDA

WOMEN’S LEGAL RESOURCES CENTRE-MALAWI

context
CONTEXT

CONTEXT

  • Malawi is a landlocked country in Southern Africa - east of Zambia, north & west of Mozambique, and south of Tanzania.
context4
CONTEXT
  • Malawi has a population of 13,066,320-(49%) are males &(51%) are females(NSO 2008).
  • Approx 85% live in the rural areas and are involved in subsistence farming.
context5
CONTEXT
  • Poverty continues to be chronic and widespread
  • It is estimated that 52.4 % of Malawi’s population live below the poverty line of 1 US Dollar per day (IHS 2005).
poverty how it is defined in malawian context
POVERTY ; HOW IT IS DEFINED IN MALAWIAN CONTEXT
  • It is that condition in which the basic needs of a household or an individual are not met. Such needs include; food, shelter, clothing etc(IHS 1998,2005).
definition of poverty from research
DEFINITION OF POVERTY: From research

Men

Women;

  • Lack of basic needs-food, clothing and shelter, unemployment, lack of money, staying in rented house, lack of safe water, chronic illness, lack of land, lack of farm inputs, lack of children
  • But of most significance
    • Employment
    • Money
    • Clothes(especially the youth)
  • same as men but also looking at quality. How one lives also matters, “you might have a good life but if you are beaten that is also poverty”, lack of children, lack of descent clothes, lack of school fees for your children, lack of medicine in hospitals, women’s insecurity = women raped.
  • But of most significance
  • Water
  • Food
  • Medicine in hospitals
who are malawi s poor people
Who are Malawi's poor people?
  • Poverty affects people who are in one of three different groups:
    • the economically active poor, who are able, of working age and in good health but who lack productive assets
    • the transient poor, who are at risk of becoming poor because of periodic or transitory shocks but who are also capable of rising above the poverty line
    • the core poor, who have no capacity to generate income and who face chronic poverty

(source IFAD)

poverty levels as described by research participants
POVERTY LEVELS AS DESCRIBED BY RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS
  • Extremely Poor
    • Helpless, fail to get a daily meal
    • Have no shelter, food and clothing
    • Survive on handouts and other people’s generosity
  • Very Poor
    • Afford a meal but they are not sure of their next meal
    • Have shelter but in dilapidated form
    • Live on hand to mouth; they cannot save
    • Can not afford fees for their children
  • Poor
    • Have basic needs but very few
    • Opportunities to land but no farm inputs
    • Have seasonal hunger
    • Have opportunities to small scale and informal businesses
poverty and gender
POVERTY AND GENDER
  • In Malawi, poverty largely has a woman’s face - 58.4% of the poorest households are female headed
  • Other indicators
    • Maternal Mortality -807/100,000livebirths
    • Total fertility rate-6.3
    • Infant mortality rate-68/1000 live births

(source: NSO 2004)

why are women poor13
WHY ARE WOMEN POOR?
  • High illiteracy levels-56% for females compared to males at 28%. Girls drop out to assist in domestic work and later on not able to secure formal employment.
  • The impact of the HIV/AIDS -around 60% of 960,000 adults living with HIV in Malawi are females. Women’s experience as care givers and when they are sick themselves both pose challenges to engage in meaningful income generation.
why are women poor14
WHY ARE WOMEN POOR?
  • Culture;
    • Subjected to harmful cultural practices
    • Forced early marriages
  • Women’s limited power -to make decisions affects their ability to engage in meaningful activities to move out of poverty
why are women poor15
WHY ARE WOMEN POOR?

Burden of Triple roles

  • Reproductive roles consume a lot of time. Women work long hours with no or little monetary gains. Estimated that women spend
    • 1 ½ hours fetching firewood
    • 1 ¼ hours fetching water
why are women poor16
WHY ARE WOMEN POOR?
  • Limited access/control to/over resources;
    • Credit(GOM 2008; 9.7% women able to access loans compared to 14% men)
why are women poor17
WHY ARE WOMEN POOR?
  • Land(In matrilineal women regarded as owners of land but control with men. In patrilineal, women do not own and can not control land, only access it through husband. Situation becomes difficult in widowhood
      • In most cases, women do not enjoy the fruits of their labour
      • Used as cheap labourers

“He makes unilateral decisions on the land. As tradition demands, I am only expected to assist in cultivating the land. After harvesting, he will also decide how to use the money”

why are women poor18
WHY ARE WOMEN POOR?
    • Farm inputs(54% men had access to fertilizer coupons compared to 49% women). This affects their yield and ultimately income.
  • Limited access to formal employment- Only 15% of women are in waged employment(HIS 2005).
why are women poor19
WHY ARE WOMEN POOR?
  • Exposed to domestic violence
    • Domestic violence, 1 in 3 of those women interviewed in a Malawi Demographic Health Survey 2004 indicated to have experienced physical violence in the home.
    • Domestic violence lowers women’s self-esteem and may erode their mental health and limits their ability to move out of poverty.
policy framework that exists for women to get out of poverty
POLICY FRAMEWORK THAT EXISTS FOR WOMEN TO GET OUT OF POVERTY
  • The Constitution of the Republic of Malawi-Section30; right to development(economic, social, cultural and political) special consideration for women, children and the disabled
  • The Malawi National Gender Programme-has 6 thematic areas one of which is poverty and economic empowerment
  • The National Gender Policy-Addresses economic empowerment of women
empowerment initiatives for women to move out of poverty
EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVES FOR WOMEN TO MOVE OUT OF POVERTY
  • Several development partners have been assisting Government as well as NGOs to work towards alleviating women’s poverty and such work include:-
empowerment initiatives for women to move out of poverty22
EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVES FOR WOMEN TO MOVE OUT OF POVERTY

Economic empowerment initiatives by government and NGOs

  • For example Skills Development and Income generation by Ministry of Gender, Child welfare and Community Development.
    • Assist women to generate income through small scale businesses
empowerment initiatives for women to move out of poverty24
EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVES FOR WOMEN TO MOVE OUT OF POVERTY

Economic empowerment

  • Livestock keeping; goats

cattle, pigs for income

generation

empowerment initiatives for women to move out of poverty25
EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVES FOR WOMEN TO MOVE OUT OF POVERTY

Economic empowerment

  • Provision of loans by government and NGOs and establishment of village savings and loans scheme; women engage in various trading activities;
empowerment initiatives for women to move out of poverty26
EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVES FOR WOMEN TO MOVE OUT OF POVERTY

Education

  • Girls Education; provision of bursaries and readmission policy among other things.
empowerment initiatives for women to move out of poverty27
EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVES FOR WOMEN TO MOVE OUT OF POVERTY

EDUCATION

  • Adult literacy for women to acquire writing, reading and numeracy skills.
empowerment initiatives for women to move out of poverty28
EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVES FOR WOMEN TO MOVE OUT OF POVERTY
  • Creation of women’s groups for social empowerment-rights awareness mostly by Civil Society organizations.
  • These act as lobby groups for women to demand fulfillment of their rights.
empowerment initiatives for women to move out of poverty29
EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVES FOR WOMEN TO MOVE OUT OF POVERTY

CLAIMING LEGAL RIGHTS

  • Access to Justice; women claiming their legal entitlements through Civil Society organizations. ie Widows fighting for their inheritance after they have been dispossessed by late husbands’ relatives
what are the challenges
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES
  • Limited resources
  • Lack of implementation of laws and policies
  • Customary laws that are oppressive
  • Entrenched patriarchal values and systems that put men ahead of women
  • Lack of gendered analysis by players on issues of poverty.
why is a clear focus on poverty and gender needed
WHY IS A CLEAR FOCUS ON POVERTY AND GENDER NEEDED
  • It is clear that poverty is a gendered phenomena which needs a gender approach to overcome
  • It is clear that in most cases, women’s experience of poverty is a result of unequal power relations.
why is a clear focus on poverty and gender needed32
WHY IS A CLEAR FOCUS ON POVERTY AND GENDER NEEDED
  • A Gender approach will assist development practitioners to understand why and how poverty affects women and men differently and formulate relevant poverty measurements and alleviation programmes.
why is a clear focus on poverty and gender needed33
WHY IS A CLEAR FOCUS ON POVERTY AND GENDER NEEDED
  • Most importantly it will assist to reduce poverty by addressing the root causes of the same and allocate resources appropriately.
the end
THE END
  • “ When I go to the market, I prefer buying commodities from a fellow woman because I know what it means. She will go back home and use the money for the betterment of her children and the family as a whole”