"Women Are Not Baby Making Machines"

Read article on “Women are not baby making machines” at mywage.org in Malawi. A young lady Muza Gondwe has gone miles to excel in science subjects and today she is singing songs of glory.

By Madalitso Kateta


Meeting Muza Gondwe in her office at the College of Medicine, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Malawi, is an inspiring experience.

A Bachelor of Science Biochemistry graduate Gondwe, editor of the Malawi Medical Journal, is one of very few Malawian women that have excelled in the science world which most Malawians consider to be a male dominated career.

Born in 1979 to an economist father and a mother that was a teacher in Nairobi, Kenya, Gondwe was greatly inspired by her parents to aim high in life in order to achieve career success in science.

“My success is not solely based on the fact that I was born into a good family, but rather the best advice that our parents gave us as young children.  They said
one needed to work hard if she or he had to succeed in life,” she says.

Last born in a family of three children and leading a successful single life, Gondwe believes that the social pressure on girls to be raised for marriage and child bearing has been a major cause of  many young girls’ academic failure.

“The general feeling in many African societies is that girls have to be raised to be married and have children. However,  the world is changing and we need to move away from this perception that sees women as baby-making machines,” she said.

While one might think that Gondwe has such ideas because of her good education and early beginnings as a child, having gone to the best schools in Kenya, Zambia and the United Kingdom where she did her A levels and university education, she is quick to say that her background has nothing to do with this.

“We are living in a changed society and we have to accept the reality that marriage is not for everybody. We have to move away from cultural and traditional principles that girls have to marry and have children, to a society where girls are able to make their own decisions based on what they aspire to be in life,” she said.

Gondwe said that talk of gender equity cannot be achieved if there is too much talk and no action to demonstrate that young women are capable of standing by themselves, married or not.

Despite having had many employment opportunities in the United Kingdom, Gondwe said she had decided to come to work in Malawi because her parents had always instilled in her a love for her country.

Commenting on the status of the Malawian girl child, the 
biochemist said that the challenge that Malawian girls faced was that sometimes women were not working hard enough to empower other women.

She said it was interesting to note that in Malawi it was men that had been proactive as far as gender advocacy was concerned.

Gondwe, who spends her free time at the gym, admiring the beauty of the Warm Heart of Africa, and reading Malawian literature, said many young Malawian girls had the potential to make it in science but they just needed to be
determined, dedicated and persevere in terms of the hardships that come with the education process.

She said it was only when girls followed this simple principle that they could develop themselves personally and avoid early marriages that could result in poverty and overdependence on husbands.