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Joyce Banda says laws criminalising homosexuality may be scrapped in what is seen as attempt to appease Western donors.
Decision expected to help southern African nation overcome shortage of foreign currency needed to import fuel.
People expect new president to create jobs and attract foreign investment.
Former vice-president takes over as leader, following the death in office of President Bingu wa Mutharika two days ago.
Banda was ousted from ruling party but retained her position as VP of Malawi, making her leader after president's death.
No official word yet on successor as state radio confirms Bingu wa Mutharika's passing, after reported heart attack.
Medical sources say Bingu wa Mutharika suffered fatal heart attack, though 78-year-old's death not officially announced.
Bingu wa Mutharika asks supporters to "step in and defend" him as he struggles with aid freeze and opposition pressure.
Recent protests across Malawi saw 19 people killed, but the government has blamed the victims for their deaths.
Leaders of anti-government protests say Bingu wa Mutharika has until August 16 to address their grievances.
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Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.

 
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