The state of women

11 March 2019 | Opinion

Much has been said about the challenges facing women and girls in Namibia and across the world, and with the celebration of International Women's Day this past Friday, there was again much reflection.

According to statistics published by africa.com, every year an estimated 15 million girls under the age of 18 are married worldwide, with little or no say in the matter.

Every year, at least 1 000 'honour killings' occur in India and Pakistan each.

The barbarism of female genital mutilation affects more than 200 million girls and women in over 30 countries.

According to the UN Foundation, 62 million girls around the world are simply denied an education.

A 2016 study by the UNDP found that approximately US$95 billion is lost in sub-Saharan Africa each year because women have lower participation in the paid labour force, according to africa.com.

It is true that International Women's Day is a time to reflect on progress and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

The 2019 International Women's Day theme focused on innovative ways in which gender equality can be advanced, as well as the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.

In the Namibian context, we need to acknowledge how critical women and girls are to our development as a country, and how we, as a nation, would be poor and ragged without their contributions and upliftment.

The demon of patriarchy, which is still prevalent across many sectors and realms, must be consigned to the dustbin of history, in order for women to take their rightful place at decision-making tables in politics, the economy and civil society.

It is, after all, from the laps of women that nations have risen to greatness, and the world has fashioned purpose and light.

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