GOBABIS, 31 OCT – The Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare on Tuesday said women and girls would hardly contribute meaningfully to socio-economic development under the current context of gender-based violence (GBV) in the country.
Doreen Sioka said GBV does not only deprive the nation of young productive lives at times, but also violates the most cherished values of the right to life, liberty and dignity.
Sioka made the remarks in a speech read on her behalf during the official opening of the Omaheke Trade Fair.
She noted that GBV calls for collective action from all Namibians as it is the only way to confront the “evil that threatens the country’s security and eats at the moral fibre of society”.
The minister encouraged the public to adopt a zero tolerance stance against GBV by reporting known cases of crime to the relevant authorities.
She also spoke strongly against the withdrawal of GBV cases in courts and the practice of refusing to give evidence in court against GBV perpetrators.
“Such practices allow the perpetrators of these serious crimes to roam the streets and continue committing the same crimes,” she said.
Sioka called on men and boys to also actively join the fight against GBV, as they have a crucial role to play in balancing the scales of justice.
The minister said in the modern age of trade and industrialisation, women play a pivotal role in uplifting the standards of households and that such efforts are often overlooked.
“Women are the primary farmers and producers in large parts of the world. However, their work continues to go largely unrecognised if not unnoticed too.”
Sioka noted that there is therefore a need for the continued prioritisation of integrating women and girls into socio-economic development, adding that gender mainstreaming remains a critical catalyst for realising the socio-economic development of women.
The Omaheke Trade Fair is held annually to stimulate trade and business networking in the region, while allowing locals to market their products and services.