Beyond Inequalities: Women in Namibia
One of the most significant areas of progress on gender in Namibia since 1996/7 has been government
policies and programmes, including the establishment of the national gender machinery, the ratification of
international instruments and national policies, as well as progressive gender-related law reform.
The first section of this publication focuses on post-Beijing legal reforms. Although law reform is a key
step in institutionalising women's equality, changing laws and government policies alone neither
guarantees women's protection of their human rights nor ensures that gender based discrimination is
eliminated at all levels of society. Indeed, gender specific law reforms may, initially, lead to higher levels
of gender-based violence because some men may perceive women's rights as a loss of their own rights.
This is not to say that law reform should not be instituted, but that law reform alone cannot effect changes
in the social and cultural realities within which women live. Changing attitudes and behaviour is important
in effecting gender-equality.
The Beyond Inequalities books are part of a series on the status of women in southern Africa and
the initiatives to mainstream gender in development processes in the region. From 2002, SARDC
WIDSAA and its national partners organisations in the respective SADC countries have been updating
the Beyond Inequalities books on Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia,
Zimbabwe, and Southern Africa with financial support from Southern Africa Regional Office of HIVOS.
The rest of the books on Beyond Inequalities: 2005 Women in Botswana; Mozambique, Zimbabwe,
and South Africa are in different stages of production.
In particular, the information in the Beyond Inequalities books is targeted at policy makers,
researchers, academics, media, co-operating partners, development agencies, and the non-
The Beyond Inequalities series were first published between 1997 and 2000 by SARDC