In order to promote women’s empowerment and to generate awareness of the importance of gender equality, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek celebrates women and their accomplishments each Wednesday. For this week’s #WCW #WednesdayCelebrateWomen, UNIC Windhoek celebrates Raturua Tjindere, a UN National Volunteer and UN Cares Programme Coordinator.
Raturua was born and raised in Namibia along with her five siblings. She says that her parents are her biggest motivation in life. “I am a humble and strong person today because of my wonderful mother,” she says.
After attending secondary school at Jan Mohr in Windhoek, Raturua studied at the University of Namibia (UNAM) and graduated with a Diploma in Local Government Studies.
She then started her first job as a credit controller, and she says, “I didn’t know that God had better and bigger plans for my life.”
In 2015, she applied and was selected for a youth volunteer post as a Program Assistant with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). From there, she sought out United Nations Volunteers and was hired to the position where she finds herself today, as a UN National Volunteer and UN Cares Programme Coordinator.
Besides working with the UN System in Namibia, Raturua also currently studies at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) doing a degree in Public Management.
Check out Raturua’s interview with UNIC Windhoek! Read along as she talks about stigma and discrimination in the workplace, women’s empowerment and gender equality.
1.) What is UN Cares? What types of stigma and discrimination are common in the workplace?
UN Cares is a worldwide work place programme for UN staff members designed to reduce the impact of HIV in the place of work by supporting “universal access” to a comprehensive range of benefits for all UN personnel and their families.
According to UN Cares, “Stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person. It is a form of prejudice that discredits or rejects an individual or group because they are seen, or perceived, to be different. When people act out their prejudice, stigma turns into discrimination.
HIV discrimination is the unfair and unjust treatment of an individual based on his or her real or perceived HIV status or other characteristics. Stigmatizing people and discriminating against them breach their fundamental human rights.
Stigma and discrimination threaten all of us. All UN system personnel, particularly managers, have a responsibility to stamp out stigma and discrimination.”
People are also stigmatised or discriminated against because they are ‘LGBTI’ which is referred collectively to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex. This form of discrimination happens everywhere in the world, and I think is totally unfair. People should treat others the way they want to be treated.
2.) What role does UN Cares play in promoting gender equality?
UN Cares plays an important role in promoting gender equality. UN Cares operates based on ten minimum standards and promoting gender equality is the third of the ten. It states;
- Learning and training activities on stigma and discrimination- Measures are in place to combat stigma and discrimination, and to increase gender awareness, including learning activities for personnel and their families in all locations.
On the 28 October 2016, UN Cares in Namibia had learning sessions on the following with UN Staff Members:
- Session 1: UN for All (Human Rights and LGBTI)
- Session 2. How is GBV related to HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
UN Cares had an attendance of 45 UN Staff members. Ms. Kiki Gbeho, UN Resident Coordinator to Namibia was also present.
3.) What challenges have you come across, if any, because of your gender throughout your career?
The challenge I had faced, with my previous employer, was that I was getting paid less then someone I was busy training. This was very unfair, in my opinion.
I am in agreement with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, who says that “workplace gender equality is achieved when people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities, regardless of gender.”
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency further says that, “The aim of gender equality in the workplace is to achieve broadly equal outcomes for women and men, not necessarily outcomes that are exactly the same for all. To achieve this requires:
- Workplaces to provide equal pay for work of equal or comparable value
- Removal of barriers to the full and equal participation of women in the workforce
- Access to all occupations and industries, including leadership roles, regardless of gender; and
- Elimination of discrimination on the basis of gender, particularly in relation to family and caring responsibilities.”
4.) What are your thoughts on women’s empowerment, and why it is important?
I think there are many issues impacting women’s empowerment in Namibia. I am in agreeance with UNICEF which states, “The three issues most critical to Namibia’s women and girls are fundamental to the country’s achievement of the MDGs and Vision 2030 goals. Gender-based violence, the multiple impacts of HIV and AIDS on women and girls and gender inequality in political participation are manifestations of a deeply-rooted belief generally among men and women alike that women are meant to take a secondary role in society. These entrenched views hold back the nation’s development since half its population is not enabled to actively contribute and participate.”
This is indeed very important in the because of the following reasons, as outlined by Matador Network, below:
- “Half the world’s population are women.
- Political empowerment means more and better policies.
- Down with capitalism.
- Better lives for men (If women are empowered, that frees men from the pressure to be the primary wage-earner)”
5.) What is your advice to girls following their dreams?
My advice to the girls would be:
“Your dreams don’t have an expiration date. Take a deep breath and try again.” –KT Witten
“It takes a dream to get started, desire to keep going and determination to finish.” -Eddie Harris Jr.
Girls should never let anyone tell them that they can’t do something, the reason they say that is because they can’t do it themselves.
6.) What is your motto in life?
“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind.” -Ian Maclaren
“You never know who you are going to meet or what facades are they hiding behind. It doesn`t cost much to give or receive compassion to/from family, friends or even strangers. It is liberating, it makes us human.” -Response to quote, Quora.com