12 Jul 2014 14:40pm
SWAKOPMUND, 12 JUL (NAMPA) The number of women in Parliament dropped from 30 per cent in 2005 to 25 per cent in 2009, Member of Parliament (MP) and Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Rosalia Nghidinwa says.
Since Independence in 1990, slow progress has been noted with concern regarding gender equality in the country. For example, the proportion of women in Parliament was 30 per cent during the 2005 national elections and it dropped to 25 per cent during the 2009 national elections, she said while speaking during the opening of a womens seminar at Swakopmund on Friday.
At the official opening of the Heads of Mission Conference here on Monday, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said his wish is that more women will occupy leadership positions in Government in future.
Nghidinwa noted that despite the fact that women make up 51 per cent of Namibias population, making them the majority, they are still poorly represented in all State-elected structures.
The minister said this is despite a progressive law on Affirmative Action which favours the appointment of women.
She went on to say that as a result of the drop in the number of female MPs, last year her ministry held a conference on women in politics and decision-making in Namibia.
The conference was held for political parties and other stakeholders to deliberate on the significance of achieving gender equality and women empowerment in the country.
Nghidinwa said it was the expectation of the conference that political parties review and amend their respective constitutions to embrace the 50/50 gender representation in all their structures, as well as to mainstream gender perspectives in their manifestos.
At this juncture, I would like to congratulate the ruling Swapo-Party which amended its constitution to pave the way for 50/50 gender representation in all structures, the Gender Equality Minister said.
She further noted that gender equality should also be considered in other organisations by encouraging and seeking female board members and advisors for powerful positions.
Nghidinwa indicated that women in such decision-making positions would help organisations to consider what is best for other women as they would keep their interests in mind and also serve as role models.
When women lead side-by-side with men, it is good for equality and democracy, as well as peace and stability. This is one of the reasons we have peace in this country, she remarked.
She also used the opportunity to encourage Namibian women to know their rights and fight child marriage, unemployment, teenage pregnancy and harassment in the workplace.
My girls, you need to stand up and fight these things yourselves. Nobody from other countries will do it for you. However, you can only do that when you know your roles and rights, said the minister.
The two-day womens seminar held under the theme The role of women in leadership in the 21st century in conjunction with Pan-Africanism discussed issues affecting women in Namibia and Africa in general.
It was organised by Giant Thoughts Consultants in conjunction with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare and other stakeholders.
More than 40 women and girls from the Erongo and other regions attended the seminar.