Despite sentiments that a growing number of Batswana women are climbing up the corporate ladder, statistics show that they are actually climbing down.
The proportion of women in Botswana leadership positions has dropped to 11%.
This emerged at a recent workshop held by the Botswana Council of Non-governmental Organization in Gaborone.
Lorato Moalosi- Seakofiwa, the director of the Women’s Shelter Project, which is a sector under the SADC Gender and Development Organization, said, “This is largely due to failure by the Botswana government to recognise women as equals.”
She was commenting on the recommendations made by the SADC Ministers Responsible for Gender Meeting held in Namibia recently.
The meeting was a follow up to previous national consultations of the respective member states on women’s rights, domestic violence and other gender-related issues as previously discoursed by the Alliance Strategy Workshop, which took place early this year.
Speaking in an interview with The Sunday Standard, Moalosi-Seakofiwa charged that the recommendations, as currently contained in the Draft SADC Protocol and Development, which is scheduled to be signed by the Heads of State at the SADC summit in August, is not a true reflection of the resolutions of all the past consultative forums.
“However, the best we can do is to strive at all costs to sensitize the present regime, the leadership and civic society in general, so as to persuade our government to co-sign the protocol so that whatever gains remaining after the Ministers’ decisions may be salvaged,” said Elsie Alexander, lecturer at the University of Botswana and Head of the SADC Gender and Development Committee.
Alexander maintains that the Constitution of Botswana implies that we are all equals, despite the fact that there are already existing pieces of legislation that are not in concert with the Constitution. Although concern was expressed to the effect that this might be used as an excuse not to ratify the Protocol, participants generally hoped that, with the necessary efforts to canvas support for recognition from the authorities, success is imminent.
Sunday Standard investigations, however, revealed that some Ministers are uncomfortable with the idea of ratifying the proposed Gender and Development Protocol in August as they feel that it is out of step with the times.
“The protocol, which has been passed from Ministry to Ministry, has been edited countless times and some important issues deleted profusely,” said Alexander, “but we have been lenient and decided to compromise.”
She continued, “Our system needs to be pushed to take us seriously.”
It’s reported that, last year, the former president of Botswana, Festus Mogae, was prepared to sign the protocol but due to the reluctance of other members of his government, this fell through. BOCONGO plans to win the confidence of incoming President Ian Khama, and his Government.
According to official statistics, women form 52% of the population in Botswana but are underrepresented in all civic organizations, including parliament.