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Multi-Media Campaign on Gender and Power Relations - Background

Background

The population of Namibia is estimated to be 2.1 million, with a growth rate of 2.6 and population density of 2.1 persons per sq.km. The majority of the population (67%) resides in the rural areas. Overall, women constitute more than half of the population outnumbering men with (51%) compared to (49%) and ratio of 94/100 females. Available data shows that 52% of voters in Namibia are women compared to 48% men. There is a belief that education is the greatest equalizer in social, political and economic spheres. In Namibia, available statistics indicate that currently in the education sector both enrolment and graduation, right from primary school to tertiary education, females outnumbers the male population. However, the equalizer concept falls short home. For example, the percentages of seats held by women in government, from parliament to local authority in % by end of 2010 are not encouraging. The picture is as follow: Cabinet 23%; Parliament 22%; Regional Councils 23%; and Local Authorities 40%.

Gender equality is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia; however, the daily lives of women have been relegated into inferiority status as a result of societal constructs. Namibia participated in the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995, adopted the Beijing Plan of Action and soon after Namibia’s National Gender Policy was promulgated with the following thematic areas amongst others:

·         Gender Poverty and Rural Development

·         Gender Balance in Education and Training

·         Gender and Reproductive Health

·         Gender and Economic Empowerment

·         Gender Balance in Power and Decision-making

·         Gender and the Environment

·         Gender and Legal Affairs

·         Gender Based Violence

·         The Namibian Girl Child 

 In addition to the above, Namibia is signatory to the 2008 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development that commits member countries to ensure 50/50 gender representation by 2015. Namibia is expected to hold the Presidential and National Assembly elections in 2014 and the Regional and Local Authority election in 2015. The importance and opportune timing of this campaign cannot be over emphasised.