Botswana is among the bottom ten countries in the world where a disparity in health and survival opportunities among citizens is the widest; this emerged in the 2008 Global Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum.
The report also shows that Botswana was the Southern African region’s biggest loser in the global gender rankings.
According to the report, Botswana, which now stands at position 63 among 130 countries, has lost ten places in the rankings this year due to the relatively more significant achievements of other countries.
“Relative to its own performance, Botswana shows an overall improvement, including in educational attainment, making Botswana the second highest ranking country in the region on this category, after Lesotho, which holds the top spot. Botswana’s gap on the health and survival sub index, however, is among the widest in the world (120), remains wide and Botswana continues to be among the very few countries in the world where women have lower healthy life expectancies than men.
Botswana compares badly to regional countries like South Africa and Namibia which have been making strides in the past few years. According to the report, South Africa, which is now ranked 22, slipped down two spots relative to its performance last year due to the greatly improved performance of countries such as Switzerland, France, Lesotho and Mozambique, all of which cross South Africa in the rankings.
However, relative to its own performance last year, South Africa makes small gains in both educational attainment and political empowerment.
Namibia, which is ranked 30, also did better than Botswana. The Report stated that Namibia “shows a steady performance, continuing to display narrow gaps on political empowerment but losing ground on education as new data becomes available for tertiary education. Tertiary level enrolment stands at only 5% for women and only 6% for men, underscoring the need for improvements for both women and men.
Tanzania (38) and Uganda (43) follow next. Tanzania loses three places in the rankings despite significant improvements in economic participation, educational attainment and political empowerment. Tanzania now holds the third spot globally on the economic participation sub index, supported by one of the smallest gender gaps in labour force participation, estimated earned income and legislators, senior officials and managers.”