Namibia: Gender Equality and the Banking Sector

NOT only is the biggest lender in the world, the International Monetary Fund, being led by women, but locally, commercial banks' traditionally male-dominated leadership has seen major changes in the past five years.

Standard Bank Namibia has become the fourth local commercial bank to appoint a female chief executive officer last week - lawyer and business leader Mercia Geises.

This came after Letshego Bank broke the ice in 2014 with the appointment of Ester Kali as their latest chief executive officer.

Bank Windhoek followed in 2016 with the appointment of Baronice Hans as its managing director.

The Namibian investigated the gender composition of various banks' executive committees and boards.

Bank Windhoek has an executive team of 15 individuals, with only three women, including the managing director, while the bank's board has seven members with only two women, according to the bank's website.

Nedbank Namibia this year appointed Martha Murorua as its new managing director with effect from 13 July 2020.

The bank's executive team has nine individuals comprising three women and five men, with one vacant position.

Nedbank Namibia's board has eight members with two women, which includes the managing director.

Standard Bank has a board of nine directors, according to their 2020 financial reports, with five of them being women.

Letshego Bank has an executive team of 11 members, with five women, excluding the chief executive officer, while their board has 12 members with four seats occupied by women.

First National Bank Namibia has 12 board members, of which only two are women, according to the bank's latest financials.

The FNB board is the only commercial bank board led by a woman.

In 30 years of Namibia's history certain institutions and companies have never been led by women, of which the Bank of Namibia is most notable.

The Namibia dollar signature remains male.

Other institutions never to have been led by women include the Government Institutions Pension Fund, Namibia Breweries, mining companies, and Old Mutual Namibia.

The City of Windhoek has never changed the gender of its chief executive officer, together with various municipalities countrywide.

According to the ministry of labour, the first two quarters of 2020 has seen 319 registered female jobseekers and 258 registered males who have attained a tertiary education.

Data shows 249 female jobseekers had university degrees as opposed to 129 male jobseekers.

A total of 46 jobseekers in the first two quarters had post-graduate qualifications, of which 27 were women.

The ministry's statistics show women are still subjected to high unemployment rates, as it registered 3 256 unemployed female jobseekers, compared to 2 236 unemployed males during this period.

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