Gender equality must not remain on paper: Ndume

20 Aug 2016 11:40am
WINDHOEK, 19 AUG (NAMPA) – Namibian optometrist Helena Ndume says gender equality must not be confined to good policies and plans but must be followed by a vigorous implementation process to ensure better socio-economic opportunities for all people.
She argues that women are often disregarded when seeking employment based on gender stereotypes, which can be addressed if laws are enacted.
Speaking during the fifth Gender and Media Summit here on Thursday, Ndume urged lawmakers to fast track the implementation of gender related laws, as to instil hope and confidence amongst women.
“Gender equality must not just be policies or plans but they must be preceded by strategies that must be enacted into law,” she said.
She disclosed that she often demands patients, who come for eye operations as a result of abuse, to report such incidences to the Namibian Police before she commences with treatment.
“For us who are empowered, these people need our help.”
This, she said, must also compel both the private sector and public to accord equal opportunities for men and women based on merit and not have baseless excuses based on gender.
In June last year, Ndume was awarded the United Nations (UN) Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize for her efforts in restoring the sight of over 30 000 people at no cost since 1997.
The 'woman with a big heart' said the empowering of women in Namibia is far from real.
“Women empowerment in Namibia is still a far-cry because companies in this day still prefer men over women because women fall pregnant and are way from work during labour, as if they [women] are not the ones who gave birth to those men,” she said to a loud applause from those in attendance.
The Gender and Media Summit started on 17 August and ran until 18 August under the theme 'Empowering Women In and Through Media, Providing a Voice for Gender Equality.
The summit was aimed at enhancing gender equality through the media.
The event was initiated by the Southern Africa Broadcasting Association (Saba), in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare; Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG); Gender Links; European Union (EU); and the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) amongst others.
Notable public office bearers in Namibia including Prime Minister Saara Kugongelwa-Amadhila; Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa; United Nations Resident Coordinator Kiki Gbeho; and Information, Communications and Technology Minister Tjekero Tweya attended the event.
Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Doreen Sioka was also in attendance.