Gender inequality must be eradicated
“Discrimination on the basis of sex is against the law and there are specific laws that have been passed to reach equality e.g. the Communal Land Reform Act, the Marriage Equality Act and the Combating Domestic Violence Act” said Brigit Rudd, the Gender Programme Manager at Lifeline Namibia. “We have sound legal policies designed around principles of equality, but what we are currently facing is a gap between what’s on paper and what is on the ground. As much as we have progressive laws, we are still far from an equitable Namibia” she continued. “Most evidently, is the fact that women represent 96% of Gender Violence victims. In an equitable society, we would not be experiencing such high levels of violence against women. Further, women represent the largest portion of those living below the poverty line. It is true that gender inequality underlines all our social issues.
Ultimately, most spheres of life in Namibia (except for maybe education), – politics,economics, religion and culture, are dominated by men. This is unconstitutional. (article 10 says no individual should be discriminated on the basis of their sex)” she stated. As the nation marks 24 years of Independence, vocal advocates like Rudd hope the issues surrounding gender equality and gender violence will get better. “Women are trying and their efforts are being commended” she said adding that the question remains if more can be done to improve the status of gender inequality that they face. She cited the events of the past few weeks focusing mainly on women receiving unequal and brutal treatment from men. “Perhaps new policies and practical solutions could be considered to help better the status of gender equality and gender violence in the country.” “The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare has a strong national action plan on Gender Violence. It is a plan designed to be implemented by all stakeholders, NGOs, the private sector, government entities and many more. We need to coordinate and mobilize our resources in ways that will see action against Gender Violence. Ultimately we need to do something, revisit our policy promises and hold ourselves and each other accountable.” Rudd said. She stress that gender education should be introduced in schools at all levels, emphasising the need to teach children to think critically from an early age. She said gender inequality is born out of pervasive and harmful gender norms and “we therefore also need to work closely with our cultural, religious and community leaders to tackle the values that keep women in vulnerable positions.”