THE courageous efforts of women in building better societies and a prosperous humanity should be regarded with all due respect and should be backed up by continued empowerment and education.
According to the African Gender Forum Namibia currently holds the top spot as the best performing country in achieving its gender equality goals as set out in the Africa as part of the ‘Gender Is My Agenda Campaign’.
On the celebration of International Women’s Day the President of Namibia, Dr. Hage Geingob recognised the progress the country has made in achieving gender equality and summoned the nation to do more to fight gender-based violence.
In his official message to all women on International Women’s day, Dr. Geingob said that the empowerment of women is a human right and not a favour.
Dr. Geingob’s message reads as follows:
International Women’s Day invites us to reflect on the journey we have travelled in achieving the goal of gender equality. It also reminds us about the efforts we have made since Independence, and summons us to renew our commitment to gender equality, and fight the scourge of gender-based violence.
As a nation, we have consolidated equality, including that of women in our laws. Article 10 of the Namibian Constitution, states that: “All persons shall be equal before the law and no person may be discriminated against on grounds of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status.” The protection of rights, contained in our Constitution is reinforced by the Married Persons Equality Act, which ensures that aspects of common and customary law on marriage are in line with the Constitution.
Our gender policies and plans of action are fully geared towards the empowerment of women. The empowerment of women is a human right and not a favour. Even if we should do more, I am satisfied that women continue to play a leading role in business, sports and politics, including in our Executive and Legislature. We have been able to increase the participation of women in the legislature when the ruling SWAPO Party took a principled decision at the 1997 Congress by passing a resolution to increase the proportion of female delegates to the Party’s congress up to 50%.
To conclude, I must say that all our efforts must continue to be centered on the empowerment and education of the girl-child. Education is the greatest equalizer, and is also a powerful weapon in our fight against the undesirable feminization of poverty.
Recognizing the courageous efforts of women in building better societies and a prosperous humanity, President Geingob wishes women and men a happy International Women’s Day.