March 8th was International Women’s Day – a beautiful day that recognizes women and their role in their communities and in the world. According to the United Nations, International Women’s Day is “a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities”. This week, we’d like to look at what life is like for women in Malawi and to shed light on the hope that they can have for the future.
In Malawi, women are usually kept within the traditional roles seen in most patriarchal societies and most often are found working within the home, while men are the ones found working outside the home. An example of what life looks like for Malawian women can be found in this excerpt from everyculture.com:
“When a family returns from the market or from gathering firewood or drawing water, women and children carry the burdens. The man leads the way, smoking if he can afford tobacco, with the rest of the family trailing behind. In a culture that separates the sexes in most aspects of life, three-quarters of literate persons are men. Usually, men eat separately from women, using the only table in the house. The woman serves the meal to the man, often on her knees. At weddings, it is customary for the bride to serve food to the husband’s parents in that position.”
In the UNICEF profile written on the social and economic state of Malawi, it says that “only 26 percent of children complete the entire primary school cycle. Of these, a meager 16 percent are girls.” This means that, due to many different cultural, economic, and social pressures, girls in Malawi rarely graduate from primary school, let alone from any form of higher education.
But, although Malawian women and girls are faced with a multitude of barriers to success and change, each one is brimming with creativity and value and the potential to improve their communities and the world around them. Just a few of these bright and beautiful girls are currently living at Mtendere Village and are pursuing their hopes and dreams for the future with determination and perseverance. These young women have made the most of the opportunities they’ve been given and are pouring their time, talents, and focus into earning their education in order to become movers and shakers in their families and communities in the future.
“And though she be but little, she is fierce” -Shakespeare
As the world celebrates the role of women this week, and every wonderful and beautiful thing they bring to our lives, we celebrate the women of Malawi who continue to press on, no matter the odds stacked against them. We know that God has placed each and every women on this planet to bring beauty and life to their families and communities and we pray that He continues to show Malawian women just how much they have to offer to the world. May women in Malawi continue to gain more and more hope and purpose in their lives in the coming years and may every girl who goes through Mtendere Village become a women who is a blessing to everyone they come in contact with. Ladies, we believe in you and so does the God who made you perfectly for such a time as this. By Him power and strength, we know that there is nothing you cannot do. It’s time for you to change the world!