Namibia winning gender equity war

Namibia winning gender equity war

Lahja Nashuuta

Windhoek-Namibia has made remarkable progress to ensure more women are appointed to senior positions of power and see to it that women count and make a significant impact in their chosen spheres of responsibility.

Statistics presented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Wilhencia Uiras, indicate that since independence Namibia has made great strides in terms of gender equality and women empowerment at all socio-economic levels.

Uiras was speaking at the breakfast meeting hosted by the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation in commemoration of International Women’s Day, which is celebrated annually on March 8.

According to statistics, women representatives in parliament have increased from five women in the 1st National Assembly (1990-1994) to 48 women in the 6th National Assembly (2015-2020), making up 46 percent of the current National Assembly. This achievement resulted in Namibia being ranked among the top African countries that advanced women in politics and decision-making.

Namibia also scored well on the 2016 global gender gap index at 0.765, ranking 14th out of 144 countries.
“We can be proud of ourselves as a nation that can stand out at any international platform and acknowledge the positive progress the country is making to ensure we are not just counting the numbers/women, but are making women count,” Uiras observed.

But, she said, despite the achievement more efforts need to be made especially at the regional level. According to the 2015 regional council elections, only 16 percent of the 121 regional council members are women.
Some regions still do not have any female regional councillor – in this regard Omaheke and Zambezi regional councils stand out while Hardap, //Kharas, Kavango East, Kavango West, Kunene, Ohangwena and Omusati regional councils each has only one woman on the council.

Erongo, Oshana and Oshikoto regional councils each has two women on the council; whilst Khomas and Otjozondjupa regions have the most female representatives, with women occupying four of the 10 constituency seats in Khomas Region, and three of the seven seats in Otjozondjupa.

The statistic further indicate that at the local level, as of May 2017, there were 57 local authorities, with women holding the position of mayor in 18 of these local authorities (32 percent) and deputy mayor in 24 local authorities (42 percent), which translate that  women comprised 37 percent of the total number of persons in both positions.

Low women representation was also recorded in chief regional officer positions, where women accounted for 7 of the 57 CEOs of local authorities.

With regard to women in management positions in the public sector and private sector/parastatals, statistics indicate that Namibia has 29.4 percent of female permanent secretaries and 41 percent of deputy permanent secretaries.

Female directors stand at 42 percent and deputy directors at 48 percent.
Furthermore, 20 percent of women hold the role of CEO and the country also recorded a significant increase in the appointment of females on the boards of directors, which is currently 49.5 percent.

Furthermore, the judiciary has also recorded an increase in registrars and judges. Currently Namibia has 75 percent women registrars of the court, 33 percent presidents of the courts, 20.8 percent judges and 49.5 percent magistrates.

The number of women entrepreneurs has also increased. Between 2006 and 2013, approximately 33 percent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Namibia had female participation in ownership, while 27 percent of firms in Namibia had a female top manager.

On international fora, in January this year two Namibian women, Advocate Bience Gawanas and Ambassador Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, were appointed to senior roles in the United Nations system by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

Namibia joined the international community yesterday to commemorate International Women’s Day.
This year’s International Women’s Day was observed under the theme: “From Peace in the Home, to Peace in Namibia: Press for Progress.”

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