September 20, 2023

Bridging the gender gap in the workplace through professional development sessions

Situated in the northern most part of Malawi, Chitipa District is in one the most remote areas, with a larger population of young women affected by gender inequity and inability to realize their aspirations and contribute to the development of their communities.  

Born and raised in the district, thirty-year-old, Lusungu Mvula is a journalism graduate working as an intern in one of the news agencies in her hometown. 

Lusungu was on the verge of giving up. It has been a long journey searching for an opportunity to work in the development sector, with numerous applications sent to organizations. 

In August 2023, Lusungu attended the UNDP Malawi ‘Career Talks’ organized in collaboration with Chitipa and Karonga District Councils. 

She was one of the 100 young women and men who participated in the sessions on how to develop an effective CV, write compelling cover letters and how to tackle competency-based interviews.

Lusungu now attributes her renewed sense of purpose to the sessions that she attended.

She said, “The career talks have made a big difference in my life, as a job seeker. I have been sending applications to different organizations, but I did not know how I could formulate my CV to increase my chances of getting shortlisted. I have also been inspired to take advantage of the different learning opportunities out there to increase my knowledge in development issues.”

Lusungu also had a chance to learn on some of the positive benefits of working for UNDP and its mission to help achieve sustainable development, an area that she is particularly interested in.

With the key principle of ‘Leaving no one behind’ in bridging the gender gap within the workplace, UNDP Malawi embarked on a series of “Career Talks” sessions, targeting some of the hard-to-reach areas of Chitipa and Karonga districts.

The sessions also presented an opportunity for some of the youthful women professionals within UNDP to share their personal stories and career journeys and inspire the young men and women in the targeted districts.

In his remarks, UNDP Operations Manager Rugare Mukanganise said; “Gender equality is central to all our work. These sessions and all the feedback that we get are therefore very helpful for us to further improve our accessibility, to help address some of the barriers that young people face in getting into the formal labor market.”

Launched in 2022, the UNDP “Career Talks” initiative aims to provide key information to prospective candidates interested to work for UN/UNDP, with special focus on young men and women, as part of the UNDP Malawi Gender Seal and People for 2030 Strategy.