Windhoek — Female members of parliament have called on the government to introduce gender-sensitive plans and gender-responsive budget components in all ministries and government agencies.
According to parliamentarians this should be done to ensure fiscal resources are generated and allocated in a way that responds to the different needs and rights of women and girls.
Swapo Chief Whip Evelyn !Nawases-Taeyele stressed gender equality starts from budgeting and that MPs should start looking at the national budget with gender lenses.
!Nawases-Taeyele who made the remarks while contributing to the debate on 2018/2019 national budget in the National Assembly urged government to incorporate a gender perspective at all levels of the budgetary process and restructure revenues and expenditures in order to promote gender equality.
"I have taken note our national budget is always gender blind. Of course, there is a budgeting programme for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women under the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare. However, there is a need to increase the scope of this programme to ensure that activities implemented and budgeted for under this programme contribute significantly to women economic empowerment," she said.
!Nawases-Taeyele used the platform to encourage the private sector to strengthen the incorporation of women in their empowerment programmes.
Expressing similar sentiment was Swapo Party Women's Council (SPWC) Secretary Eunice Ipinge who said although the economic empowerment of girls and women is essential to achieve gender equality, women's rights and the wider development outcome, only a small portion is allocated to women empowerment.
"Gender-responsive budgeting is not about creating separate budgets for women, or solely increasing spending on women's programmes. Rather, gender-responsive budgeting seeks to ensure that the collection and allocation of public resources are carried out in ways that are effective and contribute to advancing gender equality and women's empowerment," Ipinge said.
She said countries with high civic engagement and stronger attitudes towards equality and fairness towards women have significantly higher levels of per capita income in the long run. "Therefore, if we gender mainstream all policies and programmes and exercise gender budgeting, the future is never fixed, it can be different," Ipinge said.
She therefore called on Namibia to emulate India where more women in work have seen fast economic growth and the largest reductions in poverty.
While in Pakistan, women entering the national parliament on a gender quota were also able to work successfully across party lines on legislation against honour killings and acid crimes were brought under control.
New Era was unable to get the views on this matter of Elma Dienda, a member of the official opposition Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), as her mobile number was constantly on voicemail.