Last week UNIC Windhoek launched its social media campaign, #Wednesday Celebrate Women, our weekly celebration of women in Namibia who make a valuable contribution in their local communities. The aim of the campaign is to feature hardworking Namibian woman from all walks of life.
This week, we’d like to give a very special shout-out to our very own, Anthea Basson of the United Nations Information Centre Windhoek.
Meet Anthea Basson, as she reflects on her journey…
My Dad raised his seven children with an iron fist, and I grew up knowing that women should work to get ahead in life. My parents brought me up to be dependent on myself,and of course facing many challenges in a predominantly male-dominated work environment, I instantly learned not to blame the workplace culture and bias for any of my misfortunes.
I always remind myself that I am and remain the tour guide of my own journey. I know who I am and what I’m passionate about. I refuse to let other people’s expectations rob the world of the special role that I am supposed to play in it. I’ve taken ownership of what I do and bring it to the table because I am in control of what is available in my hands. Needless to say “I am a woman weaved by life’s challenges, a woman of substance.” My life is not glorious and I don’t have medals or trophies to flaunt, but my biggest trophy is the fact that I pour my heart and soul into my work or what I can do to uplift others.
I value the formal and non-formal education I received because it has become the most critical quality to empower myself as a woman. Education guarantees women and girls with much greater power to make legitimate choices over the kind of life they wish to lead. Education is not a luxury, it is a basic human right. As an educated woman I have the skills, information and self-confidence to be a better parent, worker and citizen.
My advice to young Namibian girls is: the doors to education are open, follow your dreams, you will become an interesting person, you can show others you have meaning, direction and purpose. Embrace education, define success in your own terms, and buy more experiences and less material stuff. Focus on self-efficacy rather than self-esteem, you have the ability to produce results in your own life. Find your path in life and take (good) risks.
Namibia has made significant progress in the area of gender equality and empowerment of women and the country remains committed to protecting the rights of women and girls. Just to mention few examples: as of date there is a high enrolment of girls in primary and secondary school and there has also been an increase in the enrolment ratio of girls to boys. In addition, there has been a remarkable increase in women’s representation in the National Assembly from 24% in 2009 to 47% in 2015. And despite challenges, it is good to know and to see that our government remains committed to women’s empowerment to ensure that women’s rights are protected and that women have access to services including education, health and employment opportunities.
Being affiliated to the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek for 18 years, the roles have reversed and I find myself in a female dominated environment, which is awesome. The Centre is very passionate about the subject and as of late has been using guerrilla online marketing to mentor young- woman girls in the country. Promoting equality is generally part of UNIC’s educational outreach initiatives with schools, we all have a role to play if we want to see significant results. Also, as part of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations is working towards “Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls”. In order to tackle this goal, it is important to communicate to young women that they can become future leaders and make a significant, positive impact in whichever career path they choose.
The UN System Namibia will empower young girls in Namibia through interactive programmes and briefing sessions, with the goal of reaching out to 5,000 girls to generate awareness of gender inequality and the importance of empowering women. This initiative will be linked to a social media mentorship programme.
The purpose of this mentorship program is to motivate young Namibian women to strive to be leaders in their future careers and to educate about gender inequality.
So, are you an author, businesswoman, coach, comedian, creator, dancer, designer, doctor, entrepreneur, facilitator, lover, mother, nutritionist, philanthropist, research analyst, teacher, etc.? Lead the way and get in touch with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek and share your story with the world. Be a Namibian Superstar and role model for other women!