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The Minister of Justice from the Republic of Namibia – Yvonne Dausab

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to the Minister of Justice from the Republic of Namibia, Yvonne Dausab. Prior to this appointment she served as the Chairperson of the Law Reform and Development Commission, and previously occupied the role of  Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Namibia.

Minister Dausab shares some of the factors that contributed to her pursuit of a career in law, including historical context, particularly living through Apartheid as a tool of oppression that used laws to implement its systems, experiencing the trauma of a family member being murdered and residing in an environment threatened by criminal activity.

Under Minister Dausab’s leadership the Ministry of Justice drives a significant legislature agenda, both informed by other ministries and its own activities, additionally it aims to fulfil to key strategic objectives namely the provision of legal services and access to justice. In terms of access to justice, initiatives include improving access to legal aid for people who need representation, developing the small claims court system and establishing community courts.

Some of Minister Dausab’s leadership strategies encompass supporting other women, focussing on key areas of your mandate and avoiding distractions, building relationships across party and gender lines to understand different points of view, reading widely, participating in activities that bring out your strengths and showing up.

Namibia has made significant strides in promoting gender equality and women’s rights. For example, both Namibia’s prime minister and deputy prime minister are women. A few of the reasons for Namibia strength in the gender equality stakes follow. Firstly, the ruling party took a decision to have a policy entrenched in their constitution that said there must be 50/50 representation in any activity that the SWAPO party undertakes. Secondly, Namibia actively participates in international and regional levels in promoting gender equality. Thirdly, Namibia has very good policies and recently reviewed its national gender policy to assess how has the country has progressed and is presently developing a new gender policy for the next ten years.

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