Since the enactment of the Beijing declaration on equal rights in 1995, there has been a phenomenal rise by women to more influential positions. These positions can be political, apolitical economic, and social.
In fact the Beijing declaration, credited as the hallmark of equality between men and women, also saw its after-effects coining statements such as ‘what a man can do, a woman can do’.
All women felt emancipated by such a declaration and Oh dear! Oh dear! Namibia and Africa in general have also benefited.
Perhaps such a landmark declaration is what saw the rise of the likes of former Malawi President Joyce Banda to power, Ellen Johnson Salif in Liberia, Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma heading the African Union and Joyce Mujuru of Zimbabwe becoming one of the few female Vice Presidents in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The political flag bearers
Closer to home, there is no doubt that some Namibian women have made their mark on the political, social and economic front. They have risen head above shoulders and become mentors in their own rights in whatever they do.
Obviously on a political level, one would be naive to ignore people like the ‘Iron lady’ of Swapo and Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Pendukeni-Ivula Ithana, National Assembly Chairperson, Margret Mensah-Wiliams, Minister of Finance Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Minister of Foreign Affairs Neitumbo Nandi-Ndeitwah or even former Deputy Prime Minister Libertina Amadhila. The list is probably longer than that. It is imperative that these are women who make any man believe that the Zebra style, be it in politics or work places, if implemented on merit then, will work because their deliverables are beyond doubt.
These are some of the women who have risen beyond any mark and shown that Namibian women have the political nerve and shine where men have made a paradise.
The business minded
In the Namibian business landscape, you would also be naive if you are a man who does not take a bow to Stimulus and E-Bank boss, Monica Kalondo, NamDeb boss, Inge Zaamwani-Kamwi, PriceWaterhouseCoopers boss Nangula Uandja, Electricity Control Board Chief Executive Office, Foibe Namene, International University of Management Vice Chancellor, Virginia Namwandi, and many others who are making their presence felt in the business world.
In the true sense of the Beijing Declaration, these are women who have risen beyond their own imagination. They have conquered the world and shown in the simplest way that what a man can do, certainly a woman can do. At least not on the paternal level because some rogue elements would obviously want to raise that silly argument.
The wave riders
While it is imperative that any Namibian worth his salt should salute those women who have gotten the rare opportunity and excelled in whatever they do, it is also important to note that they are some women who like to ride on the wave and find it difficult to admit that they have failed. Some of these women have risen to the highest levels of power but the moment they got there, they lost respect of what used to drive them.
A vivid scenario will be what is happening of late with the Mayor of Windhoek Agnes Kafula. Here is a woman who shocked many, even coming first on the ruling Swapo party list of potential women parliamentarians. She even broke new ground by becoming a female Mayor after Ellaine Trapper but oh dear! Somehow if what is in the media is anything to go by, then she has just lost track on how to do the right thing.
Maybe it is a passing phase but this is one woman who has seen it all from getting land at meagre prices while her subjects in the city need it more, to being on front pages of every paper for the wrong reasons.
The die hard
Perhaps Sara Naanda comes to mind when it comes to that description. This is one woman who proved beyond any doubt that despite not so many people being impressed by her appointment as the then TransNamib Chief Executive Officer, she was going to hold on to it no matter.
Well that worked pretty well until the surprising suspension came two weeks ago. Since then, she is fighting the Board tooth and nail to get her throne back. Perhaps she needs to look closer to the mirror and ask if it is not imperious that she is a role-model to many young ones and the best thing to do is to fight the inevitable. This is the time she should stand in the true sense of equality and say I will give you enough time to never to prove your charges against me.
There is also one who perhaps has to come to reality and maybe admit that in as much as she was the pillar and reached the skies through the national airliner, she might as well have gotten it wrong somehow.
This is former Managing Director of Air Namibia, Theo Namases. If it is true that all those allegations were being levelled against them, then just like Naanda, they need to prove that once in while we are all human and as such we all make mistakes.
The hard reality
While many would want to beat about the bush, Namibia should move towards emancipating women who can deliver. It does not matter whether you are a woman or a man what is needed is the delivery. If the likes of Ivula Ithana, Nandi-Ndeitwah, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Kalondo, Uandja, and Zaamwani-Kamwi can excel in whatever they do, then the likes of Kafula, Naanda and Namases can also follow suit.
The worst anyone can do is to fail to deliver and expect sympathy because they are a member of the fairer sex. It defeats the whole purpose of the Beijing declaration because all we need are women of substance in whatever they do.
In fact, merely looking at the excelling women and those messing up, debates like the ones ridding Twitter these days, where belief is that female bosses in Namibia are prone to the wave of losing their jobs, just fail to hold water. There are many women in political positions and CEO positions who have done the right thing and are still there. Perhaps the ones who are falling victim need to take a closer look at themselves because all that Namibia really needs is women that can deliver.