Botswana Railways will in the not so distant future introduce female locomotive drivers, bringing to an end a long standing tradition in which the job was reserved for males. The parastatal has embarked on a milestone recruitment of female locomotive drivers- the first batch of lady drivers since inception of the organization.
Created in 1987 through an Act of Parliament, when the government of Botswana bought out the National Railways of Zimbabwe, BR has been a common ground for male locomotive drivers trained in the early years from Tanzania.
The status quo will remain unchanged until April this year.
Revealed the Minister of Transport and Communications Nonofo Molefhi during the past Ntlo Ya Dikgosi session: “The arrangement of training women as locomotive drivers has commenced from April 22nd -31st May 2017. It should be noted that this is the first batch of lady drivers since inception.”
At the moment a total of eight women are currently employed as trainee locomotive drivers.
“That notwithstanding, consideration for lady drivers quota will be taken care of in future,” he added to the thunderous applause of Kgosi Boiditswe of Serowe Region who has been at pains to consider the anomaly during this time of gender equality, where countries are deemed as gender neutral for any occupation opportunities.
The Botswana Defense Force (BDF) broke the record when it employed female cadets a few years back. A new batch of female junior officers is currently on training locally and expected to officially join their fellow female cadet pilot officers, trained from Tanzania.
With re-introduction of the passenger train in the offing sometime this year, BR’s introduction of female locomotive drivers is expected to cushion against escalating unemployment rate especially amongst the vulnerable women population. At the same time, the passenger train will present new options for passengers who were previously hard hit by high prices charged by passenger buses.