Dienda pledges gender parity in official opposition

02 Aug 2016 14:10pm
WINDHOEK, 02 AUG (NAMPA) - The DTA of Namibia has a long way to go in achieving gender parity in its leadership structures, the party’s former acting Secretary-General (SG) Elma Dienda says.
The official opposition party held its executive central committee (CC) meeting on 01 July 2016, where it elected a new SG, a position the Member of Parliament (MP) Dienda acted in since June 2015 but did not contest.
Speculation about her lack of interest in challenging the leadership position in the party followed the election of Immanuel Ngaringombe as the new SG.
In a recent exclusive interview with Nampa, Dienda said a choice had to be made between contesting for the full time SG position or holding on to her seat in the National Assembly (NA).
“I chose to remain in Parliament instead; that is where I am needed to represent the people and have my voice heard on issues. But mark my word, I will contest the same position in the party, come the 2018 congress,” she adamantly stated.
According to Dienda, a shortfall observed during the party’s CC was the way in which women timidly contested the vice and deputy positions in the party’s leadership and not the senior positions; something she is determined to address.
“I will make sure that women in the party are ready, when the 2018 congress comes, to contest leadership positions and not as deputies because this is undermining themselves. There is enough time till the congress for me to capacitate and empower them.
“I am guided by the DTA’s constitution, which I will use as a guideline to ensure that I strengthen the women to lead so that we can be measured on the same scale as men.”
She noted that a challenge lies ahead in making men understand gender parity by measuring women on the same scale as men.
Dienda’s pledge forms part of a wider and continued effort to meet the fifth United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) on gender equality to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life.
Namibian First Lady Monica Geingos echoed the same sentiment this year at various platforms, when she called for the genuine empowerment of women.
Geingos said real empowerment and real power, politically, economically and socially are what is needed; as that is where women are being failed because the playing field is not level.
She said the quest for gender equality is such that it needs political, cultural, racial and social unity.
According to Geingos, men are key enablers but expecting men to initiate and effectively implement gender equality “is like asking the turkey to vote for thanksgiving”.