IWD activities inspire students

IWD activities inspire students

This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) has positively impacted female students from the university and surrounding schools.

Celebrated this year under the theme: DIGITaLL, innovation and technology for gender equality with a hashtag: Embrace Equity, the IWD falls on March 8 every year but MUST commemorated it a day later, on March 9.

Speaking during the event, Form 1 student at Matapwata Secondary School in Thyolo, Katerina Chifuwa, said the event has changed her life. She expressed gratitude for the opportunity to attend the event.

“The event has given me momentum to work hard in my education. I have been inspired by the speeches from the various women. It was just like they were speaking directly to me. I aspire to be a pilot, which is a male dominated field and at times my determination was being pulled back by society, not anymore,” she said.

“I am happy to have met women who went far with their education despite facing various challenges, and are now holding big positions. I am so determined because I have been assured I can be anything I want to be. All I need to do is to work hard towards achieving my dream.”

MUST is one of the tertiary education institutions in Malawi where females are underrepresented both as students and staff.

One of the lecturers at MUST, Dr Tiwonge Mzumara-Gawa described the event as successful.

“We organized the event to expose women who are doing well in society to our female students and those from surrounding schools. You saw we invited female employees from Illovo Sugar Malawi to share their personal experiences.

“We intend to inspire the female students by letting them know different careers and hear what other women have achieved. It is important for us women to celebrate, carry each other, and ensure we have equal spaces,” said Dr Mzumara-Gawa.

Guest of honour at the event was Head of Human Resources at Illovo Sugar Malawi, Khumbo Mtambo-Banda.

Mtambo-Banda encouraged women to focus their energy on enhancing their abilities and supporting each other instead of pulling each other down.

“I am standing here as human resources head of such a big organization because a woman is part of this success story. We need to understand that the more we support each other, the better it is. But the more we pull each other down, we will all lag behind as women. I encourage women to be more confident in themselves in order to reach their full potential and bring out the best in them. As they navigate the world, especially in science and technology that is dominated by men, they should know that skillsets of confidence help to portray their competence,” she said.

In Malawi, women constitute 50.68 percent of the 19,129,952 total population.