Empowering Women Through Comprehensive Sex Education

Jozika Kauapirura

Last Friday, women around the world – including in Namibia – marked International Women’s Day.

Among others, it is a time to reflect on womanhood. This means prioritising discussions on topics such as women’s sexual reproductive rights, which remain at the forefront of gender equality struggles.

A glaring example is the shortage of contraceptives Namibia experienced in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic when individuals were confined to their homes during the lockdown.

With limited access to contraception, the natural desire towards reproduction was heightened, contributing to an increase in teenage pregnancies.

However, it’s important to recognise that teenage pregnancy is not solely attributable to a lack of contraception.

While refraining from assigning blame, it appears that the root cause lies in a deficiency of adequate and accessible resources.


When I was 17, I transferred from the Windhoek International School to Concordia College. It took me from one side of a highway to what felt like an entirely different world.

While the distance between the schools was minimal, the cultural and social landscapes couldn’t have been more contrasting.

At Windhoek International School, teenage pregnancy was seldom discussed, if at all.

It seemed like something out of a distant tale, whispered about among friends who knew someone who knew someone who had experienced it.

At Concordia, I was confronted with a stark reality. Teenage pregnancy was a visible part of daily life.

Walking through the halls, I couldn’t help but notice pupils in uniform displaying their baby bumps.

It was a jarring realisation that what had seemed like a distant possibility was, in fact, a prevalent issue in public schools.

I was, however, very happy that the girls who fell pregnant still prioritised their education and didn’t let pregnancy hold them back.

While at Concordia, I had an ability to interrupt my developmental studies teacher to talk about what is deemed “inappropriate”.

Often the topics I raised turned into debates. I vividly remember one girl saying to me: “Jozika, go talk to your parents about these things… we don’t feel comfortable talking about sex in class.”

A few months later, she stopped attending classes. We later heard she had fallen pregnant. Two more girls fell pregnant in my class alone.

It struck me then that while my discussions were often labelled as “inappropriate”, it was the silence surrounding sex, pregnancy prevention, contraception, and STDs that was truly problematic.


Failure to openly address these subjects only increases the likelihood of teenage pregnancy and related issues.

Teenagers often appear to be more concerned about contracting HIV than becoming pregnant, yet they still don’t prioritise using condoms.

The misconception that discussing sex education encourages sexual activity is deeply flawed.

Teenagers are inherently curious and driven by intense hormones, which is a natural part of adolescence.

Instead of stigmatising this curiosity, it’s crucial to engage in open conversations. It’s important to clarify that being curious and experiencing sexual desires are normal aspects of growing up.

However, within this curiosity, it’s vital to promote safe sexual practices.

Safe sex encompasses more than using condoms, it also involves regular testing for sexually transmitted infections, utilising other forms of contraception, understanding sexual reproductive health and obtaining consent.

An often heard argument – “if you don’t want to get pregnant, do not have sex” –oversimplifies a complex issue.

It fails to acknowledge the multifaceted nature of human sexuality and the reasons why individuals engage in sexual activity beyond reproduction.

Solely focusing on abstinence disregards the reality that many teenagers will still explore their sexuality.

This approach may leave them ill-equipped to make informed decisions about their sexual health and relationships.


Instead, comprehensive sex education aims to provide teenagers with a holistic understanding of sexuality, including information about contraception, STD prevention, consent and healthy relationships.

By addressing these topics openly and honestly, educators can empower teenagers to make responsible choices regarding their sexual health and well-being.

Even at 21 years old, I still harbour significant fears about pregnancy and the consequences associated with sexual activity.

I firmly believe individuals should refrain from sexual activity until their reproductive systems have fully matured.

While I view sex as unnecessary from the age of 12 to 17, I am adamant that comprehensive sex education should be the priority.

I advocate the mandatory provision of birth control, such as condoms, in every school’s restroom and prioritising comprehensive sex education from grades 6 to 12.

Let’s commit to empowering women and girls through education, access to resources, and open dialogue.

Addressing the challenges they face and advocating their rights will move us closer to a world where women are truly empowered to make choices that affect their lives positively.

  • * Jozika Kauapirura is a journalism and media technology student at Nust, and is a passionate advocate for comprehensive sex education.

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