President Hage Geingob is of the view men should play prominent roles in tackling the epidemic of domestic violence. He also said there is a need to re-educate the boy child that being told culturally to be strong does not mean they must kill women.
“We must condemn gender-based violence and men must take the lead. Some women are dumping their children,” the president said yesterday when he officially opened the 10th Pan African Women’s Organisation Congress (PAWO) in Windhoek.
“We are also forgetting the boy child. Men are in trouble. You go to church, you see women. You go to graduation [ceremonies], you see women. Where are the men? After you leave yourselves out, then you feel inferior and there is aggression.”
The head of state also spoke fondly of Namibia’s gender equality policies, which has over 45% of women represented in the National Assembly and over 23% in the National Council. According to Geingob, women empowerment is a reality in Namibia and not mere lip service.
“In Namibia, we don’t pay lip service to women empowerment. Instead, we implement it. Women empowerment can no longer be a goal but a daily practice. We must no longer talk of women empowerment but we must walk the path of women empowerment,” Geingob said.
Given the prominent role played by the organisation in advocating for women empowerment in Africa, the African Union (AU) signed an agreement with PAWO on 21 February 2019, recognising it as a specialised agency of the continental bloc. The decision to absorb PAWO as a specialised agency is in line with the January 2018 decision of AU Heads of State and Government to align 50/50 gender parity in the AU workforce by 2025.
In Namibia, Geingob noted, the government has prioritised the issue of gender parity as a means of addressing historical imbalances and injustices towards women. In the spirit of ‘No Namibian must feel left out’, Geingob said they recognise that poverty eradication is not possible if the female population is left behind. Since women constitute half of the population, he said, Namibia has benefitted from the Swapo party’s internal reform of its party-list system, including 50/50 representation of men and women.
Geingob maintained the top four in government also reflect 50/50 representation with the country’s first female prime minister and a female deputy prime minister. Furthermore, he stated, women occupy strategic portfolios such as international relations and cooperation and the higher and lower education portfolios.
He told delegates that Namibia also has several women deputy ministers in key ministries as well as other key decision-making positions. “Our parliament comprises of 46% women. Our advances in promoting the empowerment of women have not gone unnoticed,” he added. In 2018, Geingob received the African Excellence Award for Gender – and last year, the African Gender Index Award ranked Namibia amongst the top three countries promoting parity between men and women in terms of economic and social advancement, representation and empowerment.
Uniformed Namibian women also played their part in the transformative Agenda 2063 through their contribution to AU/UN peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peace-building initiatives around the world. Namibia has a National Gender Policy aimed to develop the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security for the period 2019 to 2024.
This plan enables direct and sustained attention to mainstreaming gender issues into the peace and security sector. Therefore, Geingob announced Namibia is in the process of establishing an International Women’s Peace Centre, which will focus on national, regional and international conflict resolutions, management activities, as well as aspects of mediation and negotiations.
With the first implementation report on Agenda 2063 having been released during the recently-ended AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, he said it is encouraging to note that priority is now being placed – not only on the representation of women but on sustainable economic development. “This will be further augmented by the commencement of trade in the African Continental Free Trade Area in July this year and I encourage PAWO to work closely with the UN Economic Commission on Africa to identify opportunities for African Women in the areas of Trade and Investment,” he indicated.
Photo: Emmency Nuukala
2020-02-27 06:58:56 | 4 months ago