The Chairperson of the Namibian Parliamentary Women Caucus, Honourable Emilia Nuyoma Amupewa, MP says empowerment of women and girls is key to addressing the underlying causes of gender-based violence.
She said this when she paid a courtesy call on the Speaker of the National Assembly, The Rt Hon Ms. Nelly B K Mutti, MP on Monday 22nd November, 2022 at Parliament Buildings.
Honourable Amupewa stated that most issues of gender-based violence, adolescent pregnancies, HIV and early marriages among others, mostly emanate from lack of empowerment. “It is imperative as parliamentarians to be at the forefront of empowerment advocacy, more so because our countries have ratified various international and regional legal instruments meant to protect the rights of women and girls,” she said.
Further, the Chairperson stated that even though Namibia is among countries ranked high in terms of women representation with 46% women parliamentarians, the country continues to grapple with many challenges with mostly women and girls at the receiving end.  Women have traditionally suffered discrimination and exclusion in the political and socio-economic life of the country. She noted that the root causes include the negative cultural perceptions of gender roles and lack of awareness on women’s rights.
Speaker of the National Assembly the Rt Hon Ms. Nelly B K Mutti, MP resonated on the importance of having a proportion of women representation in Parliament. She indicated that laws need to be amended and enforced to ensure that there’s a quarter system of women participation in Parliament as this would give women the voice to tackle a number of issues including gender-based violence.
Speaker Mutti also stated that it is key for women to be financially independent if gender-based violence is to be addressed. She pointed out that most women depend on their husbands for sustenance hence the high increase of cases of gender-based violence. “When a woman is not empowered, her husband gets to feel he has the weapon to use on her and say even if I mistreat her, she will still come back. But if a woman is empowered to be financially independent, cases of gender-based violence will be combated,” she said.
The Namibian delegation is in the country to, among other things:
i. Appreciate the structure of the Zambian Parliamentary Women’s Caucus;
ii. The legal framework guiding the Parliamentary Women Caucus;
iii. Membership/ roles of the women’s parliamentary caucus;
iv. Budgetary support scheme;
v. Challenges experienced during the establishment of the Caucus and how they were addressed;
vi. Engage with women in leadership, advocating for women issues; and
vii. How the country has progressed in terms of gender mainstreaming since the inception of the women’s caucus.