The Minister of Defence has implored Namibian women to join the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) and steer the force to greater heights.
Minister Penda ya Ndakolo made the appeal during the quartermaster commissioning course that took place at Walvis Bay on Wednesday.
About 83 students from all three services, namely the army, air-wing and maritime wing took part in the course, which started on April 18.
All participants went through a demanding 17-week training programme and rose above the challenges of the programme. According to Ndakolo, only 24 participants were women though.
“The gruelling course was designed to transform identified warrant officers and senior non-commissioned officers, who possess good leadership qualities, into commissioned officers with the necessary military decorum and competencies. No one dropped out during the duration of the course,” Ndakolo explained.
The defence minister noted the fact that all 24 women completed the programme as a clear indication that the Ministry of Defence and NDF are adhering to government’s call to empower women, in line with government policies.
“In view of this I’m calling upon young Namibian women to join the Namibian Defence Force and urge those already in the force to be prepared and courageous enough to assume key staff and command functions within the defence force,” the minister said.
According statistics availed last year, five percent of NDF’s management positions are held by women, while women’s representation in the entire armed forces is only 23 percent.
However, the NDF wants to have at least 30 percent women to maintain Namibia’s pioneering status in its adherence to United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 on October 31, 2000, which reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflict, peace negotiations, peace building, peacekeeping, humanitarian responses and in post-conflict reconstruction. It also stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.
The resolution provides a number of important operational mandates, with implications for member states, such as Namibia and all members of the UN.