Domingo Matseu – Namibia

Domingo Matseu – Namibia

Date: June 6, 2012
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Ever since I started attending Gender Links gender mainstreaming workshops, my mind-set has shifted from the cultural beliefs I used to hold onto, as I realised some of them were being used to discriminate against women. I am one of those men who was raised to believe that a man is above a woman, and even when I started my own family I still had those beliefs. In my town of Marientel, this is the norm. However, after my first gender training workshop with Gender Links, I realised how wrong I was. The training helped me understand that women are not the fairer sex, and that women’s rights should be respected in all communities.

As the Communications liaison officer for the Marientel town council, my main responsibility is to make the work of the council known to the community. Being the bridge between the community and the council puts me in a good position to influence processes at both ends and this has allowed me to ensure that gender issues are always on the agenda. Men in the community have been inspired by my work and are slowly joining forces with me to change other men to change their attitudes towards gender issues.

In the past, I used to think that a woman’s place was the kitchen and I used to harbour negative attitudes towards women who pursued a career after marriage. When I started working, I was against women being bosses. Slowly I’m beginning to change my attitude and now consider women as equals with men. I have come to realise that they can make better leaders, especially when it comes to peace processes.

The Gender Links Namibia country manager Sarry Xoagus has been a huge inspiration to me, as she helped me understand a lot about gender issues, as well as equipped me with communication skills which are very important for my post. I also draw a lot of inspiration from my President, Hifikepunye Pohamba, who is a staunch supporter of gender equality. The President is very outspoken on gender issues and whenever he makes a public statement he addresses the issue of violence against women and respect for women’s rights.

As a respected member of the community I am making sure that during meetings I present on gender issues, and at the moment I am working with a group of men to help them understand gender issues.

In my house, my kids are learning a lot from me and one day they will be able to replicate my actions towards their mother, and later on they will do the same to their wives. This will lead to a better world.

I now plan to work with traditional leaders so that in the near future they might be able to embrace gender issues and do away with cultural practices that discriminate against women. It’s challenging to change the attitudes of the older generation, but if we can influence traditional leaders then we can change the traditional practices that discriminate against women.



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