International Women’s Day (IWD) is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities (United Nations). It is from this background that Tea Association of Malawi Limited (TAML) commemorates this day every year to celebrate and honor women and tea companies/estates that are in the fore in promoting and protecting women’s rights in the tea sector.
During this year, TAML commemorated IWD whose campaign theme was #EachforEqual. TAML commemorated the day on 14th March 2020 at the Mulanje Park Stadium. It all started with a solidarity walk from Chitakale trading Centre to the venue of the commemoration. To contextualize the theme, TAML commemorated the day under the theme “Today and Everyday Equality for Women in Malawi Tea Sector”. The commemoration was made possible with support (both financial and in-kind) from the Malawi Tea 2020 Revitalization Programme’s implementing partners like IDH Sustainable Trade, World University Service of Canada (WUSC), Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) and other TAML’s partners like, International Labor Organization (ILO), Fairtrade Africa, Oxfam and Women’s Legal Resources Centre (WOLREC).
To strengthen its bilateral relationship with the government of Malawi, TAML invited the Ministry of Gender to grace the occasion as the guest of honor. The Ministry was represented by Mr. James Ali, the Chief Director. In his remarks, he commended TAML for supporting the government’s efforts of promoting gender equality and eliminating any form of harassment and discrimination. In addition, he pleaded with Tea companies/estates to come up with mechanisms and procedures that can encourage people to report cases of harassment or discrimination.
The commemoration was also graced by members of the Industrial Relations Committee (IRC) and TAML’s Board of Directors. Speaking on behalf of the Directors, the Chairman of the Board Mr. Sangwani Hara, commended the TAML’s Secretariat for their commitment as regards to the gender work being done under the Malawi Tea 2020 Revitalization Programme. In addition, he recognized the funding partners for working relentlessly in supporting TAML financially and with human resource and capacity building. He concluded by sharing the progress report on TAML’s gender work and the planned activities for the year 2020.
To show its commitment, TAML awarded Certificates of recognition to Tea Companies/Estates recognizing their commitment in supporting TAML’s effort of making workplaces in the tea sector free from gender inequalities, any form of harassment and discrimination.
Lastly, to spice up the occasion, there were performances by estates’ employees, local musicians and comedians. The performances ranged from drama, songs, dances and poems.