NDF needs a ‘woman’s touch’

Too few women in army
The defence ministry is looking at strategies on how to empower more women in the army though its gender policy.
Adam Hartman
The Namibian Defence Force (NDF) is on a mission to strengthen institutional mechanisms to address gender inequalities within its ranks, as well as increase the involvement of women at all decision-making levels, peace processes and conflict resolutions.

This resolve was delivered at the NDF’s five day Gender Policy Validation Workshop that took place in Swakopmund recently.

It was revealed at the workshop that gender empowerment is one of the challenges faced by the ministry considering that the number of women were too little compared to their male counterparts, and that there was still some resistance amongst members that are uncomfortable with the empowerment of women. “The police aims to give guidelines that will help the adoption of strategies aimed to empower women and eliminate tendencies that views women with contempt. These are generally due to cultural upbringings. This reactionary tendency should be shunned by all progressive looking people,” said Colonel Agatha Amadhila, head of the gender division at the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs.

The Gender Policy is hoping to establish an equilibrium in line with national, regional, continental and international standards, and the workshop was designed for participants that included gender experts, policymakers, and representatives from military justice to establish objective to validate the policy. “We must remember that gender issues have become a significant subject in the military sector. Many armed forces, including the NDF, recognise that mixed teams of female and male troops may better fulfil mission goals. As a result, the NDF aims at recruiting, retaining, and promoting more women into senior roles, as well as to build strong morale and prevent internal abuse within the armed forces,” said Amadhila.

The policy will be presented to the relevant committees before it reaches the final approved and ready for implementation.he workshop further resolved to implement the policy, once finalised, and ensure that it remains a guiding tool that ascertains gender mainstreaming, equal representation of men and women towards the attainment of gender equality. The implementation will be funded through a Gender Responsive Budget. The workshop further aligned the draft policy to the National Gender Policy which is also under review.

The Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs is charged with overseeing the implementation of the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, which is based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on WPS.