Windhoek – Swapo Party Women’s Council (SPWC) secretary Eunice Iipinge says women, as the group affected by inequality and under-representation, must lead efforts to change the situation for the better.
This, she warned, would however not be realised unless unity and discipline prevail within the SPWC’s rank and file.
“Unification of the broader membership of Swapo women and that of Swapo Party should take centre stage as we, women, strive to find our rightful place in contributing to the socio-economic development of our country,” she told delegates at a SPWC central committee meeting in Windhoek on Saturday.
“We should not make unity a lip talk but hard-based and tongue confection.”
Iipinge urged delegates to maintain their mandates as the women’s wing of Swapo – that is to be and remain a women’s platform and transmission belt of Swapo Party’s policies, ideologies and political programme with the specific mission of mobilising Namibian women for their full and active participation in the political, social, cultural and economic transformation of the country.
“There is a saying that in any society and situation it is those that are most affected who must act to bring about change, as those who are privileged benefit even unconsciously from a system that marginalises others,” she said.
“Hence, they cannot be depended upon to make the changes that will remove their privileged status,” she said, adding that it is up to the women themselves to make changes to their own status in the society.
The SPWC leader said her experience has shown that a greater representation of women in the highest levels of decision-making bodies has made differences in raising awareness, changing agendas.
She said though there is 50/50 representation in the party structures and the number of women in parliament, there are still powerful institutions which remain male bastions, including in the private sector, judiciary and constituency councils.
“Full gender equality has not been sufficiently mainstreamed and policies, including our own party policies and some specific issues concerning women, have been largely ignored,” she said.
Ahead of the NEC (national executive committee) and secretariat elections, Iipinge urged delegates not to elect women on the basis of their friendship or tribe or region but to elect those comrades who can implement the council’s new agendas – “comrades who will work in the interest of all Namibian women”.
“Let us elect women who will ensure that our noble goals become a reality for all our women,” she said.
She also called upon all delegates to engage in an inevitable process of making the party and the nation a better place with all key agents involved, to the best of their ability.