Women's empowerment key in poverty reduction: Uiras

04 Mar 2019 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 04 MAR (NAMPA) – There are growing indications that investing in gender equality and empowering women are critical for poverty reduction, Gender Equality and Child Welfare executive director, Wilhencia Uiras has said.
Uiras said this at a workshop to review gender-responsive budgeting tools in government offices, ministries and agencies (OMAs) on Monday.
“There is growing evidence that investing in gender equality and the empowerment of women is critical in poverty reduction and achievement of overall sustainable human development,” the executive director said without providing statistics to back her observation.
She however acknowledged that “in Namibia, gender inequality remains one of the biggest challenges we face”.
She pointed to lack of access to ownership of resources, the high prevalence of gender-based violence against women and children, inadequate investment in social protection and limited financing for women’s empowerment as some of those challenges.
The director reiterated her call to her peers in the OMAs to commit themselves so as to ensure that Government fully facilitates the development and implementation of gender-responsive programmes, policies, frameworks and guidelines.
Gender-responsive budgeting is loosely explained as a strategy for assessing and changing budgetary processes and policies so that expenditure and revenues reflect the differences and inequalities between women and men in incomes.
Assets owned by men and women, their decision-making power, service needs and social responsibilities for care also form part of gender-responsive budgeting.
The day-long workshop was aimed at enhancing the capacity of senior staff members of members of OMAs in gender-responsive budgeting initiatives.
It also intends to strengthen the role of this type of budgeting and planning as part of a key strategy towards gender mainstreaming in Namibia, therefore leveraging the capacity of OMAs.
“OMAs’ senior members play a major role in conducting and ensuring that OMAs implement the National Gender Policy. To this effect, staff members are in charge of conducting gender analysis and planning for the application of GRB [gender-responsive budgeting] principles in the national budget,” she expounded.
She further explained that GRB allows for the formulation and budget execution in a gender-responsive and sensitive way which addresses the different needs of women, men, boys and girls in an equitable fashion.
Gender-responsive budgeting is based on two principles - gender equality and public financial management.
“GRB experts argue that gender equality principles should be incorporated into all stages of the budget process for the empowerment of women and men,” she added.