Protecting reproductive health and rights

15 July 2020 | Columns

Florence /Khaxas



Namibia was built on the labour of black women whose bodies are often subjected to criminalisation and violence.

Why do women die? That is a question we need to continue asking, as we unpack how race, gender and capitalism continue to be the catalysts of reproductive injustice and the criminalisation of black women's bodily autonomy.

Communities need to unite to protect the lives of girls and women by promoting their human rights. Community decision-makers such as religious leaders should be at the forefront of promoting love and non-violent societies that prioritise the well-being of women and girls.

Poor and marginalised women are in great danger of the Covid-19 pandemic because they face greater difficultly in protecting themselves from transmission due to lack of information, resources and access to quality health and social services.

Now more than ever, we need strong unified voices of black women to speak out, hold space and start the conversation on Namibian women's bodily autonomy. Now more than ever, we need to listen to women and their rights and needs.



Govt failing women

The government is miserably failing women. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3, to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” sets the target of reducing maternal mortality to 70 deaths per 100 000 live births, with the belief that legislating for safe abortion access is central to reducing maternal mortality.

Reproductive rights are human rights and those rights include the right to safe, accessible and legal abortions.

About 40 million abortions take place globally each year, whether we like it or not.

The criminalisation of abortion simply drives the abortion market underground, which leads to unsafe abortions.

The severe trauma experienced under the criminalisation of abortion, and due to community-driven stigma, further impacts the mental health of girls and women.

Local communities can come together to participate in initiatives that strengthen the broad constituency of women mobilised to secure inclusion in decision-making regarding their bodies.

If local communities actively support women by promoting leadership to organise around reproductive health and rights, this will result in a dramatic improvement in women's health, which will lead to happier communities.



Lack of public knowledge

The lack of public knowledge about human rights and the law highlights the lack of community-driven responses that prioritise women's health and demands accountability towards Namibian women. Community organising strengthens active citizenship and political involvement towards reaching law reform to remove oppressive laws.

Namibia is a violent and unequal society. Communities guard culture that upholds gender inequalities. Political leaders continue to fail women, which increases stigma and violence towards women and girls.

Traditional leaders should be at the forefront of promoting women's human rights and dismantling how society views women, which also undermines autonomy and the human right to health.

A religious leader's role is building and uniting communities by promoting love and peace, however, the family values of pro-life campaigners further restrict women's rights to accessing healthcare services and promotes stigma and ignorance within the community.



Own bodies, own decisions

Women have the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies. Local communities need to start creating community-driven platforms for sharing accurate information about sexuality, reproduction and to address unwanted pregnancies.

Churches need to openly speak out about family planning and reproduction and respect a women's rights to make decisions about their own bodies.

Only when communities start engaging each other by promoting women's decision-making and leadership within their community, and the right to participate in political life, will we see a new day of reproductive agency for Namibian women.

Similar News

 

The true test of leadership: how to lead during...

4 days ago - 22 January 2021 | Columns

Anthony Mitchell Leadership is challenging at the best of times, but how you lead during an environment of complexity and ambiguity is the real test...

Repeating outfits is not a crime

2 weeks ago - 12 January 2021 | Columns

Enzo AmueleThe fear of repeating an outfit is shared across the globe. Societal norms have created this idea that you are not allowed to wear...

HR trends you need to know

1 month - 04 December 2020 | Columns

Ann SnookAs technology advances and best practices change, so does the face of human resources. If you want to work efficiently while recruiting strong candidates...

Human trafficking in Namibia

2 months ago - 18 November 2020 | Columns

Martha N.T. HasheelaNews headlines in recent months have shown that people are going missing at the speed of light. Our country is no longer safe,...

Making the lives of the Namibian youth better

2 months ago - 17 November 2020 | Columns

Monique AdamsThe statement “never forget where you come from” is something Robert Haihambo frequently reminds himself of.‘Do it for the Kids Namibia’ is a voluntary...

Expanding your territory

2 months ago - 17 November 2020 | Columns

Elizabeth Joseph The expansion of my territory is a term I’m very well acquainted with. And the last few months have been a complete test...

Corruption - A social disease (Part 168): Policy making...

2 months ago - 17 November 2020 | Columns

Johan Coetzee - What may the deterioration of the public service morale and competency levels, an increase in political interference and an increase in corruption...

A call for economic revival by all stakeholders

2 months ago - 06 November 2020 | Columns

LIBOLLY L. HAUFIKU The private sector in Namibia is in dire straits. The most recent report by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), dated 11...

Revival of sports

2 months ago - 03 November 2020 | Columns

Enzo AmueleWe all know that sports took us for a hefty ride this year. The impact of Covid-19 is huge in society. Sports bring people...

Endless natural wonders of Namibia

2 months ago - 27 October 2020 | Columns

Mariselle Stofberg “Take me to Namibia, my soul needs to breathe.” We live in a country that offers us endless natural wonders. The vastness...

Latest News

Nam has exhausted 75% of...

1 day - 25 January 2021 | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUAccording to the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Report, Namibia’s ranking has deteriorated significantly in the last decade, falling from 66th place in 2010...

New year, same old auction...

1 day - 25 January 2021 | Fishing

MATHIAS HAUFIKUWINDHOEKTroubled state-owned fishing company Fishcor hoped to have secured N$33 million in an auction of fishing quotas whose bids closed on Friday, in part...

Govt backs Recon’s Kavango oil...

1 day - 25 January 2021 | Energy

KENYA KAMBOWEKAWEDespite a number of objections against the planned oil and gas exploration at Kawe village in the Kavango East Region, the government has given...

I owe GIPF nothing –...

1 day - 25 January 2021 | Business

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKBusinessman Ranga Haikali on Friday said he owes no money to the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) from the fund’s ill-fated Development Capital Portfolio...

New Shell service station opened...

1 day - 25 January 2021 | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUThe new Oshakati Shell opened its doors over the festive season to an expecting public. With refuelling and eating options, the new Shell facility’s...

SA’s Mr Price posted a...

1 day - 25 January 2021 | Business

South Africa's Mr Price on Friday posted a 5.8% rise in third-quarter retail sales, supported by Covid-19 relief packages and demand for household items as...

MTC records 2.66 percent increase...

1 day - 25 January 2021 | Business

Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) on Thursday announced a 2.66 percent increase in revenue from N$ 2.613 billion recorded in 2019 to N$ 2.683 billion in...

SA’s Mr Price posted a...

1 day - 25 January 2021 | Business

South Africa's Mr Price on Friday posted a 5.8% rise in third-quarter retail sales, supported by Covid-19 relief packages and demand for household items as...

Heavy rain, flooding expected this...

1 day - 25 January 2021 | Weather

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe weather bureau has warns that heavy rain with localised flooding is likely in the Omaheke Region tomorrow.This will spread to the central-northern areas,...

Load More