President Lazarus Chakwera has defended the absence of a Ministry of Gender and Women, saying he has named more women in Cabinet than any president in the history of Malawi.

Gender activist Emma Kaliya had criticized President Chakwera for not living up to the promise of 40 percent female representation.

Kaliya also pointed out that most women are deputy ministers and described the cabinet as a raw deal.

In his 31-member Cabinet, President Chakwera just narrowly missed his target having appointed 12 female ministers, 38.7% of the Cabinet.

Speaking when the presided over the swearing in of his Cabinet, President Chakwera ministry of community services which omitted Gender and Women held by UTM secretary general Patricia Kaliati will be renamed.

“However, these are only absent in name, not in fact. While it may have been the practice of the previous administration [Democratic Progressive Party -DPP] to neglect any areas not appearing on the cabinet list by name, that kind of tokenism is not part of the Tonse Philosophy. As a case in point, the [DPP] indeed had a Ministry of Gender, but among its many failures was the failure to condemn and investigate the rape of women in a

village outside the capital despite having a cabinet portfolio,” said Chakwera.

“Our approach is to place issues of gender and disability within the Ministry of Community

Development and Social Welfare with a fully empowered and resourced Principal Secretary solely dedicated to address them with a view to reaching specific measurable benchmarks.