Working towards gender equality

With the presidential elections slated for later this year, a capacity building workshop was held to promote representation of women on regional councils.

04 March 2019 | Government

Leandrea Louw - A capacity building workshop of women in regional councils under the theme “Enhancing gender equality and women empowerment in Namibia”, concluded on Friday.

Benitha Imbamba, a regional councillor for the Arandis constituency representing Hafeni Ndemula (chairperson of the regional council), said that Namibia cannot speak about gender equality and equal representation of men and women in politics and decision-making without involving women.

“Some of our regional councils have no women. Namibia’s population is made up of about 51.4% women. Do we want to say that women did not stand during the time of elections? It no longer looks smart to have a boardroom full of men only. This situation, where a region does not have women on their council, cannot be defended any longer. When planning issues on the agenda, who could be a better representative to raise various needs and issues affecting women and children in our region?”

Collective reflection

According to Wilhencia Uiras, executive secretary for the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, the main objective of the workshop was to create a platform for collective reflection and consensus building by political party representatives and to foster compliance with the national constitutional, regional and international commitments in the attainment of gender of equality.

“Political parties are the primary and most direct conduits through which women can access elected office and political leaderships. Structures, policies, practices and values of political parties therefore have a profound impact on the level of women participating as well as the representation of women in politics generally, in positions of power and decision-making at all levels of the country.”

She added that in Namibia, women were active participants in the struggle for independence and continue to play an important role campaigning for gender equality.

“Despite all these contributions, they are underrepresented in politics and decision making levels, particularly at the regional and national level.”

Currently, only one of 14 regional council chairpersons is a woman; 15% of general regional representatives are women; 9% of regional council management representation are women; and only 14% of traditional councillors are women.

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