More than 80 per cent of rural girls without sanitary pads: Sioka

06 Mar 2019 23:10pm
WINDHOEK, 06 MAR (NAMPA) – At a time when Parliamentarians are calling for the provision of free sanitary pads, statistics reveal that only 17 per cent of girls living in rural areas have access to improved sanitary services.
These statistics were revealed by Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Doreen Sioka in the National Assembly on Wednesday in support of a campaign for the provision of free sanitary pads to needy school-going Namibian girls.
According to the minister, not only is the situation embarrassing, it also deprives the girls of their privacy.
She said as a consequence, many young girls opt to stay out of school when they menstruate as they cannot afford sanitary pads.
The minister lamented that rural girls already go through many hardships and said a lack of sanitary pads should not be one of them.
“Girls who lack resources to buy sanitary products have been silently suffering heartrending humiliation and academic disadvantages during their menstrual period,” she told the House.
Sioka went on to say that as proven in studies by other countries, improved school attendance is guaranteed once sanitary products are made freely available.
To ensure that the situation which affects poor girls’ school attendance is arrested, her ministry has been working on various collaborations with other entities through the implementation of the National Gender Policy (2010-2020) in the Education, Training, the Girl and Boy Child cluster.
It provides technical support to reduce gender inequality in education, improve education retention and school completion rates.
The cluster also contributes greatly to increased access for women to vocational training, science and technology.
Equally, it promotes the enrollment of boys in disciplines that are predominantly regarded as feminine, such as nursing, social work, tourism and hospitality sectors, the minister further told the House.
Sioka said the roles of the cluster among others, is to ensure the integration and mainstreaming of gender in education sector policies, programmes, budgets and work plans.