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Women need to have control of their own sexual and reproductive health – expert

Women need to have control of their own sexual and reproductive health – expert

The 10th edition of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Gender Protocol Barometer, the #SheDecidesSADC and #TheTimeisNOW will be launched by gender activist at Heja Lodge, Windhoek, ahead of the Head of State Summit.

Colleen Morna, Chief Executive Officer and co-editor of Gender links noted that for every step forward on gender quality a step backwards have been witnessed.

“In the year that saw women across the world and our region march for equality, our strong message is that it is time for women to claim their space and make their own decision about their bodies their work, their relationships and their lives,” she added.

Globally, the #SheDecides movement has drawn renewed focus to the imperative of enabling women, and particularly young women, to have control over their own sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing. The movement is galvanising support across the globe to Stand Up, Speak Out, Change the Rules and Unlock Resources.

The Barometer uses two yardsticks, the empirical SADC Gender and Development Index (SGDI) and the perception based Citizen Score Card (CSC). The regional SGDI has in the past year gone down from 61% to 59% and the CSC from at 65% to 62%. At 63% and 71% for the SGDLI and CSC, Namibia scores fifth out of the 15 SADC countries. Namibia, the new chair of SADC received the Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) Award in 2017 for its efforts to promote gender equality.

All 15 SADC Member States except Mauritius have signed the SADC Protocol and Gender and Development, but only ten have signed the amendment to align it to the Sustainable Development Goals. One more country needs to do so for the amendment to go into force, which is likely to be Namibia, which is hosting the 2018 Heads of State Summit.

About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and she believes education is the greatest equalizer. She received her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in June 2021. . She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.

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