Women’s Rights in NamibiaThe Southern African country of Namibia is taking significant steps to ensure gender equality. The Namibian constitution has focused heavily on reparations for women’s rights, specifically recognizing the discrimination females have faced. Namibia currently has in place more than 90% of the legal framework to promote gender equality. These efforts at advancing women’s rights in Namibia have paid off: Namibia ranked eighth out of 146 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report 2022 in terms of gender equality, with a score of 80.7, standing as one of just two African countries placing in the top 10.

A Closer Look at the Global Gender Gap Report 2022

Though Namibia’s 2022 ranking is noteworthy, the country has actually dropped rankings, moving from sixth place in 2021 to eighth place in 2022. In the area of Economic Participation and Opportunity, Namibia has slightly regressed, moving from 19th place to 20th place. In Education Attainment, Namibia has notably progressed from 34th place to 30th. The country ranks the same as last year in terms of Political Empowerment (19th) but excels in Health and Survival, ranking first in both 2021 and 2022.

The World Bank’s Women, Business and Law index, which measures how laws impact female economic participation and progress, has scored Namibia a high 86.3 out of 100 in 2021, which is higher than the average score in sub-Saharan Africa.

The above report says, “When it comes to laws affecting women’s decisions to work, laws affecting women’s pay, constraints related to marriage, gender differences in property and inheritance and laws affecting the size of a woman’s pension, Namibia gets a perfect score.”

In terms of improvements, the report says, “When it comes to constraints on freedom of movement, laws affecting women’s work after having children and constraints on women’s starting and running a business, Namibia could consider reforms to improve legal equality for women.”

Education and Other Indicators

According to the Global Gender Gap Report, in terms of educational attainment, Namibia ranks first in terms of enrollment in primary education and tertiary education, but there are no gender parity outcomes listed for secondary education. However, data from the World Bank indicates that the gross secondary school enrollment rate for girls in Namibia improved since 1990 and stood at 70% in 2007. For males, this rate was lower, standing at 61% in 2007.

The report also notes that Namibia has never had a female head of state and females hold just 14% of seats in the upper house of parliament.

According to data from U.N. Women, the number of employed women in Namibia living under the international poverty line exceeds that of men (10.7% versus 7.7%). Additionally, in the adult population, females account for more than 70% of those experiencing severe food insecurity.

Sister Namibia

Sister Namibia is a local organization working toward upholding women’s rights and empowering females in Namibia by “amplifying women’s voices.” The organization was founded in 1989 in Windhoek, Namibia, and has raised awareness on matters impacting women and other marginalized groups through its publications.

Sister Namibia’s focal areas are law and justice, gender-based violence and harassment, health and wellness, education and employment, among others. Sister Nambia also involves itself in and publicizes key events aimed at upholding human rights. Through its work, Sister Namibia hopes to spur change.

The organization’s publications provide pertinent information about the updates of women while building a community for women to share their stories and art. Sister Namibia has supported women’s rights in Namibia for more than 30 years and provides important resources and services Namibian women can utilize for assistance in several areas, such as mental health.

Looking Ahead

Namibia’s implementation of its first national action plan on women, peace and security, which is to run from 2019 to 2024, stands as one of the frameworks ensuring advancements in women’s rights. Doreen Sioka, Nambia’s minister of gender equality, says Namibia aims to reach gender parity in the country’s 2024 elections.

Namibia has seen much progress in the area of women’s rights. And with continued efforts and commitments, women’s rights in the country can strengthen even further.

– Kathryn Kendrick
Photo: Flickr