6 Promote gender equality and empower women

Where we are?

 Girl in classroom.
Young girl in secondary school. Photo - UNDP

Of the seven targets, three have already been achieved, two were on target to be achieved by the year 2015, while two were not on target. Gender parity targets have been reached for secondary education, literacy rates for 15 to 24 year olds and pre-primary education. The ratio of girls to 100 boys for secondary education was 112.3 in the year 2012, 101 for literacy in 2011 and 101.2 for pre-primary education in 2012. The target to have gender parity in primary education is on target to be achieved at 96.4 girls per 100 boys. Namibia was also on target to achieve 50 percent share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector, having achieved 48 percent in 2008 and 35 percent in 2012. The gender parity target for tertiary education will likely not be achieved, taking current trends into consideration. The proportion of seats held by women in Parliament was 25 percent in 2013, still 25 percentage points from the targeted 50 percent.

The Namibian Constitution is the starting point for gender equality in Namibia. Unlike many other national constitutions, Namibia’s Constitution explicitly forbids sex discrimination. Numerous milestones toward gender equality can be mentioned, but the establishment of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare was certainly one of the most significant, cementing Government’s commitment to the cause of gender equality. A major bottleneck slowing down progress is the poor implementation of legislation, policies and plans, possibly due to low capacity and poor funding priorities. However, some key plans in Namibia, such as the NDPs, pay insufficient attention to gender issues. Other challenges include insufficient resources to mainstream gender equality adequately across different sectors, increased gender-based violence, the seeming inability of Namibia to translate gender parity on some levels into formal jobs and negotiation powers of women, inadequate disaggregation of data in national management information systems, and inconsistencies in data sources, research methodologies and data presentation. 

Status at a glance


Ratio of females to males in:

·         Primary education (girls per 100 boys)

102 (1992)

96.4 (2012)


On target

·         Secondary education (girls per 100 boys)

124 (1992)

112.3 (2012)



·         Tertiary education (females per 100 males)

162 (1992)

85.25 (2011)


Not on target

·         Ratio of literate females to males (15-24 years)

110 (1991)

103 (2011)



·         Pre-primary education (girls per 100 boys)

87.6 (2008)

101.2 (2012)



Share of women in wage employment in the non- agricultural sector (%)

39 (1991)

49 (1997)

48 (LFS 2008)

35 (LFS 2012)


On target

Proportion of seats held by women in Parliament (%)

5.7 (1990-1995)

25.0 (2010-2013)


Not on target

0.61 years
until 2015

1990 2015
Targets for MDG3
  1. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
    • Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
    • Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
    • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament