After years of battle and constant bashing from Gender organisations and opposition parties alike, Botswana has finally received accolades for its employment of women in senior positions.
A statement from the Grant Thornton International Business Report places Botswana as one of the world’s leading countries in terms of hiring women in senior positions at a rate of 32 percent, a rate higher than that of countries in the developed world.
The report further alleges that Botswana has shown a 7 percent improvement in employing women in senior positions. In 2009, the statistics had placed Botswana at 25 percent.
According to the research, Botswana, placed 7th on the list, beats a majority of developed countries, such as the United Kingdom, America, and Sweden, to name a few in the statistics. The only other countries where women are better placed in senior positions are Thailand, Georgia, Russia, Hong Kong, Philippines and Mainland China.
Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) is said to provide insight into the views and expectations of over 11,000 businesses per year across 39 economies. The survey draws upon 19 years of trend data for most European participants and nine years for non-European economies.
Jay Ramesh, the Managing Partner of Grant Thornton in Botswana, said that it is good to find that the percentage of women in senior positions had increased in Botswana from the 2010 survey report.
“The contributing factor has been the “tone at the top” to place empowering women in leadership positions in the country. Grant Thornton in Botswana has a woman Partner and 2 women Directors in the management team,” said Ramesh.
“We can definitely see a difference in employment of women in senior positions at the workplace compared to previous years and that is commendable,” said Keabonye Ntsabane, a gender activist as well as co-ordinator for Genderlinks Botswana.
Ntsabane, however, pointed out that the workplace has a structure where people could climb to the top through routes, unlike in other leadership sectors like politics. She said that although she commends the appointment of top positions to women, her concerns lie with politics, where leadership is most vital. She said that the road to business management does not have the technical problems that politics does, in terms of women empowerment and leadership roles.
“At least the workplace has a direction, politics doesn’t and that is where it’s critical to have our women representatives, in decision making roles, and that is one challenge that we need to tackle as a country before we can call our women empowered,” said Ntsabane.
Ntsabane said that the way forward could be a review of the current voting system, which clearly makes it harder for women to penetrate the political environment.