Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

17 August 2012

Namibia: Help Other Sisters Up the Leadership Ladder

Most women in Namibia are to a lesser or greater degree hamstrung by outdated cultural traditions which have impeded their development and growth, and which have thus slowed down the country's economic development, said Veronica De Klerk, Director of Women in Action for Development.

According to De Klerk, women in leadership positions have an ideal opportunity to work in unison for the eradication of such cultural baggage because the country cannot allow the injustices suffered by women due to harmful cultural traditions to be practised any longer.

"Women leaders who have been more exposed should therefore be the catalyst to bring about change on that front, to bring other marginalised women into the mainstream of the economy and as we know, the majority of women live in the rural areas of the country," she said.

She said, it would be extremely selfish and not promoting the cause of women, if those who have made it up the ladder, fail to send the elevator back down, for other women to be raised to higher levels.

De Klerk argued that if the present generation of women leaders start to build on the next generation to be worthy successors and able to serve the nation, Namibia will speedily see parity in the representation of the genders in the Public and Private Sector.

"Young girls should therefore by groomed, trained and prepared timeously for future leadership roles by talented and experienced women leaders, whether in business or in politics, because the present challenge is that more women role models are needed to take young girls to the next level," added De Klerk.

She said, in order to turn the tide and get more women in all leadership positions in economy and politics, women should make determined decisions to become more involved in the male dominated world in order to excel.

"I wish to caution, that if women just hang around in the male dominated board rooms as lame, uninformed and speechless females, who have very little to offer in terms of contributions and wisdom on particular subjects, they are very likely candidates for male prejudice and mockery," she said.

"These embarrassing situations call for careful and resolute preparation by women themselves by in-depth studying the topics that would come under discussion in the boards on which they serve and there is no doubt that women can do this," De Klerk added.

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