Source: Nyasa Times
Malawi former president Joyce Banda, a campaigner for women and girls rights, on Tuesday was shown on Ben TV of London in a popular Pauline Long interview show which she said many professional women get discouraged from entering politics because of the treatment they get when they are trying to get into positions of power – the name-calling, the scandalisation and the smear campaigns.
Banda told host Pauline Long that women need to be in leadership “to assist women in getting their voice back “ and help in numerous challenges that they face.
The first woman president of Malawi and second in Africa, said she was a victim of name-calling when she was governing Malawi from 2012 to 2014.
She was subject to the taunt of a saying that, ‘a female cow does not pull a cart, the female cow is kept for milking’as the then opposition politicians kept questioning why Malawians were allowing a woman to pull the cart.
Banda , who has been an advocate for equality and human rights for women, children and the disabled. lost the presidential election to President Peter Mutharika in 2014.
However, Banda said in the Pauline Long show that there is still great need to give women the opportunity to get into leadership.
“We should ensure many women as possible should get into positions of leadership,” she said .
Banda founded the Joyce Banda Foundation, which strives to help marginalized groups. The foundation focuses on efforts such as schooling, women’s empowerment and orphan care.
Malawi former presidet told Dr Pauline Long that she was fortunate that all the things that she have advanced in her life and fought for, “are things that emerged from personal experience.”
Banda said. “I’m talking about education and I’m talking about women’s empowerment and gender-based violence and then … maternal mortality and human rights.”
Growing up, Banda said that although she was able to go to school, one of her friends in her village was unable to attend.
Banda said when girls are unable to pursue education, they marry and bear children young, which can lead to death in child labor. Banda said she herself endured 10 years in an abusive home and almost died giving birth.
To be successful, girls need opportunities for education and role models.
“We must target the girl child… Investing education in girl will be key to give the woman a voice back,” said Banda.
Banda also pointed out there is the issue of how harmful traditions and cultures stand in the way of the African woman’s advancement.
She also bemoaned about rampant corruption in Africa but said some Heads of State in the continent were serious in cracking down the vice.
“I am proud as African woman that there is a crop of African leaders that are saying no to corruption. Nigeria , Kenya [are some examples of countries where its leaders are serious to fight corruption],” she said.
Banda urged women to be in parliament to take part in all important political decisions.
TV presenter Pauline Long interviewed Banda in London when she hosted the launch of the first Global Africa Women’s Week on the theme “giving the African woman her voice back”.