Women MPs closer to grassroots than men: Katjavivi

05 Jun 2018 19:10pm
WINDHOEK, 05 JUN (NAMPA) – Female Members of Parliament (MPs) are closer to the grassroot levels when compared to their male counterparts and play a greater role in bringing gender-related matters to the fore, National Assembly (NA) Speaker, Peter Katjavivi has said.
Katjavivi made these remarks during the Parliamentary Women Caucus and the Standing Committee for Gender Equality, Social Development and Family Affairs meeting here on Tuesday.
Highlighting the importance of women caucuses, the Speaker said they present an opportunity for female legislators to discuss and advocate for women issues.
“It is also an advantage to form alliances to work with women to form caucuses in order to change certain aspects of law-making,” he said.
Katjavivi added that female MPs tend to enrich policy debates with a greater attachment to matters they feel will add value to the livelihoods of women and children and that women caucuses were created with the aim of increasing women’s impact on political decisions.
“It is generally believed that the building of cross-party caucuses can help provide the peer support necessary to gender equality legislative and policy agenda,” he said.
Katjavivi stressed that the NA attaches great value to its Women Parliamentary Caucus as it brings together women from various political formations and from both Parliamentary houses [the NA and National Council].
The caucus was attended by among others, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, gender equality minister Doreen Sioka, deputy minister of international relations, Christine Hoebes and the caucus’ chairperson, Eunice Iipinge.
Echoing similar sentiments was Johnson-Sirleaf, who said gender issues were equally a concern for her.
Despite her being the first female African Head of State, Johnson-Sirleaf indicated that her country could learn more from Namibia, considering the progress it has made in terms of women empowerment.
She said that most African countries have all placed gender equality, women participation and female upliftment as part of their development agenda but that however, it is the implementation of these bono fide gender equality measures in practice that worries her.
Providing some remedies towards women empowerment, she said the importance of education cannot overemphasised.
“Not only women education, but young adolescent girls, their retention in schools, the issues they face while in school,” she added.
The former Liberian President then took time to heap praise on Namibia in particular and Southern Africa generally for empowering women in party politics.