Women should aim for presidency - Geingos

11 March 2019 | Social Issues

First Lady Monica Geingos has told women that they must aim to become president instead of first lady.

Geingos was speaking during an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on the occasion of International Women's Day, which is celebrated annually on 8 March.

This year's theme was '#BalanceforBetter', focusing on gender equality, a greater awareness of discrimination and a celebration of women's achievements.

“They must not aspire to become someone through marriage, they must aspire to become someone through the choices they make,” Geingos advised young women in the interview.

Geingos said women should aspire to become someone through their studies, the kind of work they do and the kind of impact they want to make in the space that they occupy.

“So I always advise them, please aspire to be a president, not a first lady.” She further said that women should only marry a person who is good to them, and not for power or money.









“So it is a conversation I have with a lot of young women, but the young women also give me hope because they do have more choices.”Geingos further said that she sometimes received a lot of criticism on social media because she addressed difficult topics.

“You will notice on social media for instance I get some sharp answers from some people and that is fine, because I think what is important for me is that we push difficult discussions, because it is in those difficult discussions that mind-sets are changed.” Meanwhile, Namibia's progress towards achieving gender equality was highlighted by President Hage Geingob on International Women's Day.

He urged the nation to do more to achieve gender equality, while expressing concern about the ongoing scourge of gender-based violence.

In a statement issued by the presidency, Geingob recognised the efforts Namibia had made over the past three decades in working towards the goal of gender equality.

“International Women's Day invites us to reflect on the journey we have travelled in achieving the goal of gender equality.





It also reminds us of the efforts we have made since independence, and summons us to renew our commitment to gender equality, and fight the scourge of gender-based violence.

“As a nation, we have consolidated equality, including that of women in our laws. Article 10 of the Namibian Constitution states that all persons shall be equal before the law and no persons may be discriminated against on grounds of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status,” said Geingob.

According to him the protection of rights contained in the constitution is reinforced by the Married Persons Equality Act, which ensures that aspects of common and customary law on marriage are in line with the constitution.

He said Namibia's gender policies and plans of action were fully geared towards the empowerment of women.

“The empowerment of women is a human right and not a favour. Even if we should do more, I am satisfied that women continue to play a leading role in business, sports and politics, including in our Executive and Legislature.

“We have been able to increase the participation of women in the legislature when the ruling Swapo Party took a principled decision at the 1997 congress by passing a resolution to increase the proportion of female delegates to the party's congress up to 50%,” said Geingob.

He added that all efforts must continue to be centred on the empowerment and education of girls.

According to him education is the greatest equaliser and is also a powerful weapon in the fight against the “undesirable feminisation of poverty”.

Namibia has adopted a National Gender Policy and two plans of action - the National Gender Plan of Action and the National Gender-based Violence Plan of Action - which are aligned to regional and continental instruments, the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, the Maputo Protocol and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa.





ELLANIE SMIT