16 days of poetry
As a concerned citizen of Malawi and of the world, I am alarmed by the rise of gender based violence cases in Malawi in 2020. Every day, local news houses report a case of violence against women and girls, particularly rape. In the rural areas, as in most African countries, young girls are forced into early child marriages.
Gender based violence in Malawi (findings)
According to a United Nations General Assembly report in 2019, it estimates that 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, which may not even include emotional, financial and verbal abuse. Eliminating violence is not just an issue of rights and access to justice; but also, an accelerator of the development agenda for Malawi.
According to a United Nations General Assembly report in 2019, Malawi ranks 145/188 on the Gender Inequality Index (GII), reflecting high levels of inequality in reproductive health, women’s empowerment, and economic activity.
According to a United Nations General Assembly report in 2019, transition rate of girls from primary school to secondary school remains low and the drop-out-rate high. UN findings indicate that 9% of girls in Malawi are married by 15 years while 46% are married by the age of 18, ranking Malawi as the 11th country globally with high cases of child marriage. Keeping girls in school is essential for protecting them from early marriage and reducing their vulnerability to Sexual and Gender based violence.
Gender inequality is a common issue in the area as a majority of women and girls engage in most of the productive household and agricultural work. Furthermore, they have least access to means of production, receive the lowest wages and are unaware of modern technologies. Evidence shows that more boys complete primary school education than girls. Furthermore, girls who do not make it past primary school education are forced into early marriages.
Malawi ranks 145/188 on the Gender Inequality Index (GII), reflecting high levels of inequality in reproductive health, women’s empowerment, and economic activity. According to the MDHS 2015-16 reports, 38% of ever-partnered women ages 15-49 years experienced intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence at least once in their lifetime.
My contribution as a concerned citizen
As a renowned Malawian published author and poet, I launch a social campaign called 16 days of poetry to advocate against gender based violence. This campaign will run every year from the 25th of November to 10th December (16 days of activism). This year, I will share 16 poems to address all forms of gender based violence. For more information about my social work, visit www.tendaishaba.com