A critical analysis on the involvement and promotion of women in strategic decision-making positions in the Namibian Defence Force

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This study was undertaken, firstly to explore and describe women inclusion and participation in executive and commanding positions in the Namibian Defence Force (NDF), and secondly made recommendations on how they (women) could be empowerment to participate fully in power positions. Using descriptive and exploratory methods with both quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection, interpretation and analysis, the study discovered, despite Government interventions with gender-sensitive policies and programs complimented by awareness and sensitization campaigns, regrettably, women continue to be underrepresented in executive and command positions in the Namibian Defence Force. The study interviewed both men and women in different rank categories with a view of obtaining their opinion as to why there is gender imbalance in strategic decision-making positions and command echelons in the NDF. Data obtained discloses massive inequalities thus revealed, chances for women advancement to strategic and executive positions in the NDF is incommodious, below par and touchy. Empirical evidence obtained during literature review exposed all command positions are patriarchal thus, decisions continue taken by one sex on behalf of the other. The study population was 490, out of which a sample of 125 male and female was drawn from the strategic decision-making bodies, Generals, Officers and other Ranks groupings from DHQ, Army and AF. The study conceptual framework is embedded from feminist perspective to provide reasons that traditional military masculinity are the sources of inequalities. Thus, exploiting the feminist view point the study established that social cultural factors, organization culture, women limited access to military education and training, discrimination in promotion and appointment constraints equal opportunity in the NDF and inhibit the upward mobility of women to top positions. Thus, NDF should employ a gender optic framework that gives effect to gender equality considerations, development of gender friendly policies and implementation guidelines. Finally, NDF should commission a study to investigate why women are not making it to decision making and command positions.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Security and Strategic Studies
Promotion, Decision making, Namibian Defence Force