Malawian president Joyce Banda sat down with CSIS to chat about how to support women's empowerment in Malawi. She points to the importance of ensuring that women are healthy and have adequate services as a key part of supporting their empowerment.
“It is only when a women is economically empowered that she begins to make critical decisions about her health...I have found in the many years I have worked with women that when a women is economically empowered that she can negotiate at household level with her husband about the number of children that body of hers can have,” explains Banda.
The interview features scenes from across Malawi of women going about their daily lives. A key area is prevention of deaths of mothers and young girls. "It is not possible for me to sit back and watch every 690 women die out of every 100,000, giving life. That's not acceptable," she asserts.
An additional contributing factor, says Banda, is the high drop-out rate among girls in secondary school. It then puts them on a path towards earlier marriage which places their bodies in danger by giving birth too young.
To protect the woman, to provide a good life for her, to provide health for her, to provide education for the girl-child is a must," says Banda.