Namibia retrogressing in 50/50 women in politics campaign

Date: August 15, 2012
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Name of the story: women’s presence in parliament decreasing

Name of publication: The Namibian

Name of journalist: Selma Shipanga

Date: 11 May 2012

Country: Namibia

Theme: Politics

Skills: Sources, perspective

Genre: News

GEM Classification: Gender aware


Among the 28 targets of the 2008 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development to be achieved by 2015 is having 50% women representation in all leadership and decision making positions. With only three years to the timeline, Namibia seems to be retrogressing. This media highlight analyses a piece published in The Namibian that reported on possible causes of dwindling numbers of women in Namibian parliament.


The headline is relevant to the article as it highlights the content of the piece fairly. Nonetheless, the headline is not bringing out what is more newsworthy in the article. Perhaps “IDEA unearths causes for declining numbers of women in parliament” could have been a more appropriate headline.


The article has used three sources, a female politician, “a Namibian citizen” and an analysis done by International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). The composition of sources in the piece affects its perspective and depth. The article is talking about representation of women in the Namibian parliament but the reporter does not interview political party representatives through which the said women would find their way to parliament except Swapo party. Further, the choice of interviewing a Swapo representative at the expense of other political parties is journalistically wrong. News writing is about providing voices to people concerned or involved in an issue – and in this case Namibian political parties.

Further, the choice of sources in the article merely reports the issue as opposed to finding a solution to a problem. The reporter could have sought views of political analysts to comment on how this problem can be solved considering that 2015, a timeline set forth in the Protocol is years away. In addition, the piece uses an anonymous source without giving a reason for doing so, this affects the story’s credibility.

Visual Images

The article did not use any picture.

Story and perspective

The article focused on highlighting reasons that are leading to the decreasing in number of female politicians in Namibian parliament. The article draws this from the analysis done by IDEA. However, the article did not have diverse sources to comment on the issues, a thing that limited its perspective and depth.

Placing or Positioning: Considering the nature of the story, the article deserved to be on front pages as opposed to page six. Namibia is a signatory to the Protocol and the media has a watchdog role to see to it that politicians are implementing the protocol through deliberate polices and measures. Therefore, putting the article on first or third pages for instance could have had more impact as opposed to page six.

Training Exercises
– In groups three, create an awareness campaign that can be used by the civil society to advocate for 50/50 women in politics by 2015.
– What is the status of 50/50 women in politics campaign in your country?
– Write an analysis highlighting some of the challenges that are affecting the 50/50 campaign in your country?

Other training exercises
– 2008 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development
– SADC Gender Protocol 2012 Barometer




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