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RWA Namibia: International Women’s day in Namibia

As the world celebrated International Women’s Day on March 9th, 2024, Namibia’s rural women, often overlooked yet resilient, gathered to mark the occasion with a fervor that echoed the struggles and triumphs of their ongoing battle for equality. In a nation that once heralded its independence in March, the juxtaposition of celebration and struggle was starkly evident as rural women from the Namibia Rural Women Assembly (RWA) convened in both the Oshana and Erongo regions.

The gatherings, attended by more than 50 women in Oshana and residents of Omatjete in Erongo, served as poignant reminders of the multifaceted challenges facing women in Namibia. While the nation commemorates its liberation from colonial rule, the echoes of unemployment and societal inequality persist, particularly for rural women whose voices are often marginalized. In Oshana, amidst the celebrations, the RWA members stood as symbols of resilience and determination. Their presence not only signified the importance of acknowledging women’s contributions to society but also highlighted the pressing need for tangible action to address the systemic barriers they face. As speeches resonated through the gathering, the words of Doreen Sioka, Minister of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication, and Social Welfare, echoed the sentiments of many: “To build a more just and equal society, we must begin investing more in women’s leadership, health, education, and economic development.”

Yet, the reality on the ground tells a different story. Despite decades of independence, Namibia grapples with staggering levels of unemployment, with rural women bearing a disproportionate brunt of this economic hardship. The promise of liberation has not translated into equal opportunities for all. Instead, rural women continue to navigate a landscape marred by inequality, limited access to education, and economic disenfranchisement. In Erongo’s belated commemoration in Omatjete, the gatherings served as a collective call to action. Residents, alongside RWA sisters, united to amplify their voices and demand meaningful change. Their presence was not merely symbolic; it was a radical assertion of their rights and a rejection of complacency in the face of adversity.

As Namibia reflects on its journey since independence, it is imperative to acknowledge that the fight for liberation is far from over. True independence is not merely political; it is economic, social, and gender-inclusive. The celebrations of International Women’s Day serve as a stark reminder of the work that lies ahead. It is a call for solidarity, action, and a radical reimagining of a future where all Namibians, irrespective of gender or background, can thrive.

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