Gender Equality Not So Equal, Says Study

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK While Namibia is one of the few countries in the SADC region that have reached the 30 percent women representation target for 2005, a survey has revealed that the “empowered” women of Namibia are mostly in non-managerial positions. The 2006 survey on Statistics on Men and Women in Management Positions in the Public Service of Namibia conducted by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare has revealed that out of the 27 government offices, ministries and agencies that participated in this survey, 48 percent have achieved the SADC 30 percent target. According to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender Sirkka Ausiku, despite what could be viewed as a positive development, Namibia still needs to make considerable progress in incorporating women into management positions with-in the public service. Most of those institutions (49%) that have reached the 30 percent target have women in non-managerial positions. “The data shows that considerable progress has been made in Namibia to include women in the management cadre. However, despite the progress, it is regrettable to note that women are mostly located at the bottom of the ladder, as they make up the majority of the non-managerial positions,” the report shows. Ausiku says momentum needs to be increased and all institutions should strive to go beyond the set 30 percent minimum target of 2005. “The ministry is committed to this goal and will continue monitoring and evaluating the progress made towards achieving the set goals in attaining gender equality at all levels of decision-making structures in Namibia,” she told New Era. Leading ministries and agencies that complied with the SADC target include the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (75%), National Assembly (62%), Health and Social Services (57%), National Council (56%), and the Auditor General (55%). The 52 percent representations that are below the target include agencies that society believes deal with issues related to productive resources such as land, trade, defence, security and mines. Though the report shows that, the ministry noted that women have started penetrating these male dominated fields. At the regional council level, the report reveals that women are still under-represented in seven regions, with only six regions reaching the SADC target. The six regions are Oshikoto, Kunene, Oma-heke, Ohangwena, Otjozond-jupa and Erongo. Namibia is a signatory to the SADC Gender and Development Declaration of 1997 which advocates 30 percent women representation at all levels by the year 2005. The Namibian government is honouring its commitment as enacted in the Affirmative Action (Employment) Act No. 29 of 1998 to ensure that the process of integrating women in decision-making process is enhanced especially in the labour force in the government, parasta-tals and the private sector.

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