Women under-representation in National Council a concern: Sioka

Minister of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare (MGEPESW) Doreen Sioka has expressed concern over the under-representation of women in the National Council and emphasised the need to put in place strategies to improve the situation.

“Though we are doing well in the National Assembly, the picture is different with the National Council, where statistics show that women are currently underrepresented with only six women out of 46,” Sioka said.

According to the minister, the number of women needs to change drastically for Namibia to achieve 50/50 representation as per the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

Sioka was speaking on Friday during the Capacity Building Workshop on Women in Politics and Decision Making taking place in Swakopmund, organised by MGEPESW and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).

“Namibia cannot continue to speak about gender equality and equal representation of men and women in politics and decision-making without involving women as they play a crucial role in addressing gender issues in law-making, representation and oversight,” she expressed.

Sioka noted that this can however only be done if women are equipped with the requisite skills that are necessary for their self-confidence, collective advancement as well as advanced oversight roles.

“We all see that in cases where parties do not get many seats, women are left out and only men make it to Parliament, so let us look at our political party constitutions and manifestos and propose strategies for mainstreaming gender within the political party system,” she said.

The objectives of the three-day capacity-building workshop include the training, mentoring and coaching of women from various political parties as well as those in decision-making positions.

It also aims to strengthen the capacity of women in politics and decision-making at all levels.

Deputy Minister of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Bernadette Jagger during her opening remarks said the workshop is an opportune platform to identify sustainable measures and good practices to promote gender equality and women’s political empowerment within political parties.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency