Namibia (Republic of Namibia) has a Bicameral parliament with the use of voluntary party quotas and legislated quotas at the sub-national level. 46 of 104 (44%) seats in the National Assembly are held by women.
At a glance
Structure of Parliament: Bicameral
Are there legislated quotas...
- For the Single/Lower House? No
- For the Upper House? No
- For the Sub-National Level? Yes
Are there voluntary quotas...
- Adopted by political parties? Yes
Is there additional information?...
Last updated: Jan 19, 2023
|Electoral System||Indirectly elected|
|Quota Type||No legislated>|
|Election details||IPU Parline|
|Quota type: No legislated||Electoral law|
|Legal sanctions for non-compliance||No data available|
|Rank order/placement rules||No data available|
Quota at the Sub-National Level
- Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas
|Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas||Constitution|
In the election of any local authority council with 10 or less members, party lists must include at least 3 female persons; in the case of a municipal council or town council consisting of 11 or more members, party lists must include the names of at least 5 female persons (Local Authorities Act, Article 6 (4)).
|Legal sanctions for non-compliance||No||None|
|Rank order/placement rules||No||None|
Voluntary Political Party Quotas*
|Party||Official name||Details, Quota provisions|
|South West Africa People's Organisation||[SWAPO]||SWAPO has a 50 percent quota with a zebra-system (alternation between men and women) for women on electoral lists for local elections.|
* Only political parties represented in parliament are included. When a country has legislated quotas in place, only political parties that have voluntary quotas that exceed the percentage/number of the national quota legislation are presented in this table.
The first women's quota was established in the Local Authorities Act of 1992, which stipulated that in the elections of local authority councils with ten or fewer members, there had to be at least two women on party lists. On the lists of parties in elections to councils of eleven or more members, at least three had to be women. In 1997, these figures were increased to three and five, respectively, and in 2002 this rule was adopted as applicable to future elections (Frank 2004: 88; LeBeau and Dima 2005: 84).
In August 2013, the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO), which is the ruling party in the National Assembly, adopted a 50 per cent gender quota which shall apply to all the national and regional structures of the party.
- Local Authorities Act, no. 23 of 1992, with amendments up to 2003
- Constitution of Namibia (rev. 2014) (English version)
- Frank, L. ‘Moving Towards Gender Balance in Elected Positions of Government in Namibia’, in J. Ballington (ed.), The Implementation of Quotas: African Experiences, Quota Report Series no. 3 (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2004)
- LeBeau, D. & Dima, E. Multiparty Democracy and Elections in Namibia, Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) Research Report no. 13 (Auckland Park: EISA, 2005)
- O'Riordan, A. Namibia's 'zebra' politics could make it stand out from the global herd. The Guardian. 28 July 2014. Guardian News and Media Limited.
- Immanuel, S. ‘Swapo’s Pro-women Constitution Launched’, The Namibian, 28 August 2013.
- The Namibian, 2022, Mixed feelings on gender parity progress, Link to article
- See the latest updates on Namibia on iKNOW Politics
- O'Riordan, A. July 8, 2014. Guardian News and Media Limited. 'Namibia's 'zebra' politics could make it stand out from the global herd', http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jul/08/namibia-gender-equality-zebra-politics
- Bauer, G. 2004. ‘ “The Hand That Stirs the Pot Can Also Run the Country”: Electing More Women to Parliament in Namibia’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 42, 4: 479–509.
- Amupadhi, T. & Hamata, M. 2002. ‘President Forced to Drop Women's Quota’, The Namibian, August 27. http://afrol.com/News2002/nam011_women_quota.htm.
- Frank, L. 2001. ‘Where there is Political Will, there is a way’, Sister Namibia 13(5-6), p. 6.
- Hubbard, D. ‘50/50 Options for Namibia’, prepared by Legal Assistance Southern African Politics’ Centre for the Namibian Women’s Manifesto Network, June 2001.
- Yoon, M. Y. 2001. ‘Democratization and Women's Legislative Representation in Sub-Saharan Africa’, Democratization, 8(2), p.169-190.
- Becker, H. 2000. ‘Striving for change: The struggle for gender equality in Namibia’, in E. Iipinge and M. Williams (eds) Gender and Development, Windhoek: University of Namibia and UNDP, pp. 30–47.
- Frank, L. 2000a. ‘Achieving Gender Balance in Politics’, Sister Namibia, 12(3-4), pp. 7-9.
- Frank, L. 2000b. ’Namibia’, in Joana S. Foster & Stella T (eds) Women in Politics & Decision-Making: A Gendered Political Analysis. pp. 64-94.
- Kethusegile, B. et al. 2000. Beyond Inequalities: Women in Southern Africa. Harare: SARDC.
- Lowe-Morna, C. 2000. ‘Strategies for Increasing Women's Participation in Politics’, Paper presented to the Fifth Meeting of Commonwealth Ministers Responsible for Women's Affairs.
- Frank, L. 1999. ‘Women in Politics and Decision Making in Namibia’, Sister Namibia. 11. No. 2. p. 14.
- Reynolds, A. 1999. Women in African Legislatures and Executives: The Slow Climb to Power. Johannesburg: Electoral Institute of South Africa.
- Inter-Parliamentary Union. 1997. Democracy Still in the Making: A World Comparative Study. Geneva: Inter-Parliamentary Union.