PRETORIA, South Africa – Namibia has made important strides in both political and economic terms, including women in politics and in leadership positions. However, the role and participation of women in the country’s new found success has been minimum. Research shows that in the country’s National Council, the representation of women is still lower than that of men. Presently, women in Namibia hold 14 percent of regional council seats and 22 percent in cabinet.
To increase the participation of women in Namibian politics and leadership positions, Salatiel Shinedima, the executive director of the community development group Women’s Action for Development, is spearheading training for women to get involved in politics as well as compete for elected political leadership positions.
Shinedima said the training is meant to equip women with necessary skills and knowledge to take part in politics whether as a voter or candidate.
“If the electorate are not sensitized about the importance of having women fairly represented in the National Council, we are depriving our decision making bodies of the views and concerns and experiences of women,” he said.
“The project is aimed at enhancing the capacity of women, those who are currently in politics but not in leadership position and those in leadership positions but do not have the capacity to take up those positions,” he said.
According to the organizers, the training does not only educate women on how to do research and table motions in parliament but also helps them build their confidence and integrity.
“That is when we say that to compliment this entire process we need to include public awareness on the importance of voting for women in political leadership,” he said.
According to United Nations office in Namibia, urgent action to eliminate the main root causes of discrimination that restrict women’s rights in private and public spaces is still required in the country, especially in rural areas.
Most Recently, Stergomena Tax, the SADC Executive Secretary said women representation in parliaments of most countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has decreased or remained constant.
She said creating opportunities for women in positions of influence in the SADC in addition to gender mainstreaming was vital to foster development in member states.
Adding, “The countries in the SADC had not yet met the 50 percent representation by women in their parliaments.”