Forty-two men and women from across the country gathered in the capital for a two-day parliament session that focused on the challenges and situations faced in the rural settlements of Namibia.
Asser Kapere, the chairperson of the National Council, welcomed the rural councillors who addressed the National Council to expound on issues that the electorate face in rural areas.
“It is imperative that both men and women benefit equally from available resources and existing opportunities regardless of gender,” said Kapere. Deputy Chairperson of the National Council Margret Mensah-Williams encouraged the councillors: “Speak in your own languages, English is not our language.”
Mensah-Williams also launched the HerForShe campaign, which was launched by the UN women in 2014 to engage men and boys, as advocates and agents of change for the achievement of gender equity, women’s rights and gender equality.
Men, women and children, who were interested in lobbying for this movement, signed the petition.
“I call upon the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare to do away with the name of the Women and Child Protection Unit. It should be “Men, Women and Child Protection Unit”, further suggested Mensah-Williams.
The First Lady, Madam Monica Geingos, in her keynote address urged the councillors to understand the root causes of gender-based violence (GBV). “Don’t delegitimise others’ efforts, productivity should be important. Don’t hide behind your gender, you may enter structures but you can be removed not because you are a woman but because you are unproductive,” implored the first lady.
Ebba Kalondo a media, gender and international expert on communication had a conference call from Geneva, Switzerland, where she gave a presentation on gender-based violence in Namibia.
Basic Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa stressed on the exposure of children to social media.
“The exposure of children to social networks and mass media displays possess some threats to what was meant [to be] good. I am referring to how young people’s bodies are marked with tattoos and it therefore calls for public information campaigns to sensitise our children on the value of their talents, bodies and lives,” further stated Hanse-Himarwa.
Mensah-Williams rallied, “Men, gender equality is your issue too. To date, we have seen fathers’ roles as parents being valued less by society despite our needing their presence as much as our mothers. It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideas.”