EPM Joins TAML to Launch the TAML Gender Policy

On 9th December 2017 EPM joined the Tea Industry in the Southern part of Malawi under the leadership of the Tea Association of Malawi (TAML) to launch the TAML Gender Policy. The TAML has developed its first ever Gender Equality, Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy (The Gender Policy) that outlines practical guidelines on how to address and prevent gender inequality, harassment and discrimination within all member Estates. The launch took place at the Thyolo Sports Club, in the Thyolo District, Malawi.

The launch coincided with the campaign for 16 Days of Activism which is an international event organized by individuals, groups and women’s rights organizations around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women. Launching the Gender Policy during this period emphasized the importance of promoting equality in the Tea Estates.

The event was colorful, many stakeholders attended including officials from TAML, WUSC and IDH and the Government both the District Commissioner and the District Labour Officer, with the Thyolo District Commissioner as the Guest of Honor.

Welcome and introductory remarks by Andrew Thorneycroft, Assistant General Manager, EPM and member of the TAML Industrial Relations Committee (IRC) were followed by a 5km ‘big walk’ to mark the Policy launch. Over 300 workers representing all TAML member Estates from the Southern Region participated. EPM was well represented by employees from all levels of the organization – senior managers, middle managers, shop-floor and field workers. The big walk aimed to raise awareness of TAML’s campaign among both its members and the general public of the need to embrace and integrate gender issues at work and in everyday life. Workers sang and danced during the ‘big walk’ in celebration of the launch. 

Speakers included Chris Payne, General Manager for EPM’s VIL estate, the District Commissioner, the District Labour Officer, and representatives from WUSC, IDH and Dana van der Velden, who is the Chairlady for EPM’s Women Welfare Committee, WWC. All speakers emphasized the need for member Estates to popularise and implement the policy ensuring the benefits were there for all to see. Dana highlighted the benefits that women at EPM had already seen since the formation of the Women Welfare Committees at the EPM Estates, such as the introduction of breast feeding and under-five programs and shelters, assigning light duties to pregnant women, giving female workers and smallholders the opportunity to weigh their green leaf first when they in the queue with men.

The event was concluded with all participants being served with a two-course meal together at the club.