Legislation in Malawi generally seeks to transform negative gender norms and relations in society. In the area of HIV and AIDS, policies note that gender relations exacerbate its spread and adversely affect mortality rates. Policies on sexual and reproductive health articulate how gender differences impact on access to, and uptake of, testing, treatment and preventative health services. However, this commitment to gender transformation is not mirrored in policies dealing with parenting and gender-based violence (GBV) respectively. For example, parenting policies reinforce the idea that it is a mother’s duty to care for and nurture children while fathers need only provide materially and financially. Furthermore, the potential role men can play in the prevention of GBV is overlooked and there are no provisions encouraging men to work as advocates for change in terms of challenging GBV in their communities.
This Policy Report has been developed to be used as an advocacy tool for civil society, policymakers and decision-makers to identify key areas for policy advocacy, and better understand and strengthen a focus on engaging men within laws and policies for gender equality.