20 Sep 2015 13:00pm
SWAKOPMUND, 20 SEP (NAMPA) - Women should stand up for their rights and put men in their place when they try to disrespect them or challenge their ideas, especially in Parliament.
Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Doreen Sioka said this here on Friday during the two-day round table discussions for women Members of Parliament (MPs) from different African countries.
The meeting discussed empowering women, their rights and their inclusion in law-making processes.
Men like getting into womens spaces especially when you raise a point in Parliament. I do not tolerate that so I answer back and create a distance.
All women should stand up for their rights. When they speak to you don't look down, you are not their girlfriends, she noted.
An outspoken Sioka said the principle of self-confidence and freedom by all women to face men without fear should be adopted and practiced in Parliament and at home.
Even your husbands should not disrespect you or talk you down, said the Gender Minister, who is also a member of the Swapo-Party Disciplinary Committee.
She said women are equal to men and they should not allow any men to treat them inferior.
Men must respect us the same way we respect them, she said.
Sioka stressed that inequality in any nation makes people unhappy, therefore gender equality is key.
I want to clear the misconception out there that women want too much power and want to take over from men. This is not true, women do not want to take over power; they would like to share leadership including decision making, she told her fellow MPs.
She further stated that the question whether women are ready or capable of leading the nation should not be an issue, as everyone started somewhere and learned in the process.
Even men were not born with the knowledge to do what they have been doing - they learned from those who came before them. This should not be different with women, said Sioka.
The discussions were attended by more than 30 women, mostly newly appointed MPs from African countries such as Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.
Apart from sharing their experiences in parliaments, the gathering's main objective was to strengthen the capacity of women MPs to fully engage in law-making, representation and oversight from a gender equality perspective.
The meeting also aimed to enhance the understanding and knowledge of women MPs on addressing gender issues.
The third objective was to explore how women can collaborate in Parliament and share good practices on the differences women can make through their parliamentary functions.
The event was organised by the Ministry of Gender in collaboration with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).