Former executive director of Women’s Action for Development (WAD) Veronica de Klerk has said female MPs should initiate a motion on legislating 50/50 gender equality in all leadership positions.
“This will undoubtedly compel all political parties to ensure that their future party lists will be in a zebra-crossing format in accordance with male and female candidates,” stated De Klerk in her opening remarks on Tuesday at the second annual leadership development for women in Namibia conference that is underway.
Such a law, she reasons, should also include the implementation of the 50/50 gender representation in the national council.
In addition, De Klerk, who is the founder of WAD, said there is a need to revive the multi-party women’s parliamentary caucus – which is still relatively unknown to the public.
This, she noted, should see the engagement of “this vital” caucus with all stakeholders who deal with empowerment at the grassroots level to enable them to table urgent social issues in parliament such as violence against women, inequality, teenage pregnancies, baby-dumping, unemployment and poverty, among others.
Furthermore, the vocal De Klerk also warned women against undermining and pulling each other down when in leadership positions cautioning that the trend only weakens the women.
“I really want to call upon you to stop this nonsense of pulling one another down. What’s wrong with us? Just give women their due and vote for them,” said De Klerk, who noted that women do not always vote for one another.
Meanwhile, De Klerk says apart from poverty and unemployment, there is a lack of self-confidence, pride and a sense of self-value among Namibian women.
She said through her work in the rural areas of the country over the past 20 years, many women have demonstrated a lack of self-value, which has inhibited their growth and interaction in society.
“Women leaders, who have been more exposed, should therefore be catalysts to bring about change on that front and bring other marginalised women into the mainstream of the economy,” she said.
– Additional reporting by Nampa