14 Aug 2015 14:10pm
WINDHOEK, 14 AUG (NAMPA) - Government has made great strides with policy reforms to advance women, who are the majority of the population and the staff complement in the public service.
It is reported that female civil servants represent 60 per cent of all employees in offices, ministries, Government agencies and councils across the country.
However, Namibia's pace in terms of employing women at management level is slow, as evidenced by the fact that men still occupy 59 per cent of management positions in the public service, while women only fill 41 per cent of those positions.
Delivering her opening remarks at the ninth Namibian Women Summit in the capital on Friday, Deputy Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Christina Hoebes noted that however, this is only one area of female representation where women need to make headway. In the private sector, only 42 per cent of employees are females, which clearly demonstrates that women have a long way to go to promote gender equality and to empower themselves. Women also need to take a serious look at the effectiveness of Namibias affirmative action laws and compliance with them.
The deputy minister said alongside economic policies that can create decent jobs, measures are needed to challenge the persistent devaluation of women's work that drives occupational segregation and gender gaps.
Although no concrete information is available about the pay gap in Namibia, it does exist as it does elsewhere in the world. In the European Union (EU) for instance, women earn around 16 per cent less per hour than men. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, said Hoebes.
She stressed that women are the majority of part-time workers; women's skill and competences are often undervalued, especially in occupations where they are in the majority; and women are also under-represented in professional occupations.
The deputy minister added that only about 43 per cent of professionals in Namibia are women and if left unattended, the impact of the gender pay gap means that women earn less over their lifetimes, which in turn will result in lower retirement savings and a risk of poverty during old age.
The aim of the ninth Namibian Women Summit is to accommodate as many women as possible catering for all regions and sectors; including government, private sectors and civil societies. The aim is to inspire one another.
The summit ends Friday.