Ilme Schneider – Namibia

Ilme Schneider – Namibia

Date: June 26, 2012
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Councillor Ilme Schneider of the opposition Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) in Windhoek Namibia says that quite frankly she “believes more in competency than the gender thing.” But she adds, “That’s my position as a white German speaking person. I can say that easily because my culture supports me. But I know that for my black colleagues it’s a totally different matter.

“I will always stand up for the gender thing, but for myself I don’t believe it. I think you are either competent for the job or you are not, no matter what you are. It’s not a high priority or issue for me personally. I usually tend to shy away from projects that involve women.”

She acknowledges, however, that “women do have to work harder than men to be recognised which is why they are more able to cope with stress because, especially in the black communities, they are the ones that hold the family together and they hold on to their jobs, while the men tend to gallivant, run around and do what they want.”

She also believes that women bring “a greater sense of community, of what’s happening in the group and they tend to take that more into consideration and find a diplomatic way while the men tend to be this is it and it’s because I say so. Women have gained very much, there’s more responsibility towards the community women are less power conscious, they have more feeling and responsibility towards the community they are trying to represent.”

Schneider said she decided to go into local government to enhance democracy in Namibia. “After independence I saw that Namibia is a very small economy which is very dependent on government contracts and no one wants to be seen in the opposition parties. I decided that’s not very good for democracy or my country either. I have four children and it’s not very good for their future so I became a member of the biggest opposition party at that time, the DTA and they put me up as a candidate.”

She said that men are more concerned with power gains no matter what happens with the community and “there the 50 percent is very good if we can manage that although I still believe that competence is the most important factor above gender.”


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