Namibia suffers from discriminatory stereotypes and patriarchal attitudes towards women and girls, which both constitute a major cause of violence against women. To give but one example, discrimination is evident in customary laws which allow family members to confiscate the property of deceased men from their widows and children; leaving them destitute, abandoned and at risk of additional exploitation and abuse.
Forced sterilisation is a widespread issue in Namibia for women who are HIV positive. Although the Supreme Court of Namibia ruled that forced sterilisations were a violation of HIV-positive women’s human rights, no reparations have yet been made for women who have suffered such violations.
Harmful practices against women and girls include sexual ‘initiation’ ceremonies, including forcing women (especially in remote tribes) to have sex with male relatives. Existing rape and other sexual offences laws are not enforced evenly across the country and remote areas have few safeguards and little access to justice for women and girls.
Sisters For Change launched programme work in Namibia in 2018.