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PAS Department Book Launch: Women in Politics in Malawi

October 3, 2016   Chanco Bulletin
The Honorable Minister, Dr. Jean Kalilani, flanked by the Principal, Prof. Richard Tambulasi, officially launches the book.
When people ask for research output from an academic institutions, one of the items that can be displayed with pride is a book containing material written by academics. Such texts accord visibility to the academic institution, and exist as proof of research being carried out within academic corridors. They tend to be more accessible to the public, which can then appreciate the relevance of work being done by academics.

The Department of Political and Administrative Studies (PAS) at Chancellor College had their moment of pride on 30th September, 2016, when they launched a book, entitled Women in Politics in Malawi, at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe. The function was attended by people from various walks of life, including academics, politicians, and others interested in the role of women in Malawi’s politics. The book has been edited by Inge Amundsen and Happy Kayuni. During the function, Amundsen pointed out that the book is an outcome of a three-year collaboration between the Department of Political and Administrative Studies and Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI). The book has been printed by Blantyre Print and Packaging Company.

The Dean of Social Science, Dr. Levison Chiwaula, stressed that as part of the Faculty of Social Science, the Department of Political and Administrative Studies has displayed a way of disseminating information relating to the roles of women in politics and also in other spheres of activity in the country. “This book fits squarely into the activities of the faculty,” he observed. “The Faculty of Social Science has been at the forefront in mainstreaming gender in higher education, through the introduction of gender programmes and even in the enrollment of students. This book is just another step in such activities.” 

Taking his turn to speak, the Principal of Chancellor College, Prof. Richard Tambulasi, took the opportunity to highlight the skills of academics at the college. He observed that the book is a product of in-depth research carried out by the writers, reflecting the reputation of the University of Malawi. He emphasised that a University ought to be, by its very nature, the hub of publishing, as this one of the benchmarks of tertiary education. He also expressed appreciation that this is yet another way in which the Norwegian government has collaborated with higher education institutions in Malawi.  

During the function, the Guest of Honor, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Dr. Jean A. N. Kalilani, expressed Government’s pleasure at the publication of the book. “The book will facilitate gender parity, women’s empowerment, and the upholding of women’s rights,” said the minister. She called upon Malawians from all walks of life to read the book to be informed about the country’s history and politics.

The book offers an overview of the involvement of women in the country’s politics at various levels and moments in history. As such, this is a text that is of interest not only to scholars, but also to other people interested in Malawi’s history, politics and gender roles. Amundsen further points out that in editing the book, they ensured that it should be accessible to an audience beyond that of academic scholars. The authorship of chapters in the books is representative of the diversity of academic interests, but also of the possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration at Chancellor College. It draws from seasoned as well as upcoming academics in the fields of Political Science, Law as well as Linguistics. The book tackles a variety of issues, from investigating the women’s parliamentary caucus, to examining the legal empowerment of women. Other chapters explore the participation of women in local government councils, the pursuit of gender quotas, as well as the language employed in describing women’s participation in Malawian politics. 

The function was not without its lighter moments, as the audience was related by the performance of the Dance Troupe, which presented Beni, Chinana, and Gule Wamkulu dances remodelled to reflect the message of the day - the participation of women in politics. Comedians Winiko and Jacob also took to the stage with a comedy skit meant to aimed at debunking misinformation about the involvement of women in politics, and highlighting the relevance of the publication.

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