Written by: Chimwemwe Mlombwa

It’s a man’s world, so how do we live in it?

March - the month where we are all reminded that women are human beings and worthy of love, respect, and celebration. I wonder what the world would be like if this were to become our new normal; not having each and every achievement being highlighted simply because you are a woman but because you are just really good at what you do.

My name is Chimwemwe Mlombwa. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I am the Founder of a Social Enterprise called Kwathu Ndi Kwanu that exists to economically empower young, single mothers who are survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in order for them to become self-sufficient and find their place in society. The young, single mothers we work with are artisans and make handmade products and items from raw materials that are indigenous to Malawi. Kwathu Ndi Kwanu is an all-female team as we realise the importance of creating a safe space for young women and girls for them to flourish and thrive.

I will not take up your time advocating for feminism or women’s rights (I am an activist for both) - I would much rather open your mind on how we as a society can actively make a change that intentionally creates a better world for women and girls everywhere while taking into mind the fact that Gender Equality is not a "woman’s issue", it is a human right.

Patriarchy is in every institution that is in society. Whether or not we like or accept it, this is a harsh reality that we (women in particular) must face. We live in completely different worlds and have completely different experiences from men. We live in a world that will always

favour men by default. But how do we create a new reality in a system that is so entrenched in our cultures, homes, schools, workplaces and places of worship? I often find that because leadership is structured in such a masculine way, women waste so much time trying to get into a space that is exclusively for men. We know this fact but still pour our efforts and energy into this losing battle.

I started Kwathu Ndi Kwanu because I know that the only way for women to be equal is if we build our own tables and take a seat. Through our work and organisation, we have created a space for women by women and there is nothing more amazing than this. Unfortunately, asking men to be allies of the feminist agenda or women’s empowerment means asking men to give up some of their power, which is something that they are unwilling to do. I mean, why would you change a system that benefits you by default? The reality is it is time that we as a different generation, create a new narrative and change the way we perceive and approach Gender Equality. As young women and future leaders, I believe that we have to break what society expects of us as our ancestors and those before us did. We must be radical and unapologetic.

As women, we have the power, skill and capacity to make sure that we create space for women, and I know many people are reading this and translating this as me saying "exclude men". That is absolutely not the case. In fact, I believe that men also have a lot of work to do in shaping a new narrative for Gender Equality but this work must be done with other men and we cannot mix the two.

I believe that there is a certain injustice in not using your privilege for positivity, so for this Woman's Issue, I want to share five ways you can actively and intentionally work towards creating a better world for your women.