Botswana has enormous unexploited potential, especially in the growth reserves of its women, said Edwin Batshu, the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs.
“Batswana women need to be actively and more effectively engaged in economic, social and political life,” he said, adding that gender-sensitive economic governance as well as better access to investment and trade opportunities are essential in supporting the pillars for the economic empowerment of Batswana women.
“Closing the gender gap would generate significant gains for the different sectors and for society as a whole,” he said.
Batshu stated that unlocking women’s full potential requires removing the barriers that women still face disproportionately including limited access to training, finance, technology, and markets.
Batshu said that improving the status of women through economic empowerment is likely to result in the overall upliftment of their families, communities and the society at large, which is crucial in the development of any economy.
He, however, said good progress has been achieved in empowering women in many sectors in Botswana.
A significant number of women now hold key positions both in government and private sectors.
“With the same decisiveness, it is possible to achieve a higher level of women’s economic participation and therefore, improved aggregate in the national economic participation scoreboard,” he said.
In addition, he said women entrepreneurs must be supported to grow from small informal enterprises to formal small and medium scale enterprises. “This strategy should lead to the creation of sustainable employment, visibility of women in national economies as well as their contribution to GDP growth, and acknowledgeable relevance to the global market,” he said.
Batshu said he is convinced that harnessing the productive potential of women is a worthy option that guarantees complete results in growing Botswana’s economy.
“Women’s dedication and passion has been proven over generations and to this day these attributes carry the assurance of the same century old outcome that women can if they are given the opportunity, resources and the right level of support,” he said.
Batshu added that the Government of Botswana fully identifies with the self evident truth that no effort to advance sustainable development will succeed if it does not take into account the plight of women.
“There has been good progress in highlighting and advancing the role of women in sustainable development, yet much remains to be done,” he said. Batshu reiterated that the debate may be mostly over, but the struggle for women’s full economic, social, and political power for gender equality still remains an unfinished business.