Women MPs urged to initiate 50/50 legislating motion

09 Jun 2015 19:00pm
WINDHOEK, 09 JUN (NAMPA) - Former Women's Action for Development (WAD) Executive Director Veronica de Klerk has called on women parliamentarians to initiate a motion on legislating 50/50 gender representation in political leadership and decision-making positions.
De Klerk was speaking here on Tuesday during the official opening of the second Leadership Development for Women in Namibia Conference.
The two-day conference that was launched last year focuses on looking at opportunities for women in business; recognising quality leadership traits and developing women leaders; bridging the gap on traditional beliefs and positions for women; and looking at gender equality and uniting against the abuse of women; amongst other things.
De Klerk said such a motion will compel all political parties to ensure that their future party lists will be in the “zebra format” to ensure gender balance.
She stated that such a law should further include the implementation of 50/50 gender representation in the National Council.
There is a huge demand for female leaders to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their male counterparts, to help make decisions on how best to govern the country, she noted.
The former WAD leader said what seemed impossible years back has now become a reality for women who have made it to Parliament.
She said the 50/50 gender representation requirement passed by the Swapo-Party is a laudable initiative, but one that should also be supported by all those involved in the governance of the county.
During Swapo's fifth ordinary congress held in 2012, the party committed itself to equal gender representation in all party structures.
“It would be a grandiose exercise in futility if women do not eagerly snatch up the opportunity to rise to the challenge and be worthy occupiers of the positions which have become available,” De Klerk said.
She said all eyes are now focused on women in Parliament and the public would like to see them performing towards the advancement of women's agenda in the county.
De Klerk also stressed that it is imperative for women to acquire knowledge on a wide range of topics, noting that men will only listen to and respect women if they express authoritative views and if they reveal sound knowledge and insight.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development also requires equal gender representation.
Signed at the SADC Heads of State Summit in August 2008 in Johannesburg, South Africa, it sets 23 progressive targets, one of which is that women will hold 50 per cent of decision-making positions in the private and public sector by 2015.