During a three-day workshop on gender and local government last Monday in Francistown, Mayor Billy Buti called on stakeholders to lobby the government to review the electoral system to enable the increase of women in decision making and power sharing.
Buti was official opening the workshop that was organized by the Botswana Authorities of Local Government (BALA) and Gender links.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there is little we can do for 2009 but let’s ensure that we encourage voters to support those women who have done well in the primary elections and urge government to review the local system to ease the increase of women in taking part in decision making,” said Buti.
The mayor indicated that there is a study that outlines that women are underrepresented in local government and that there were variations between councils in places such as Chobe, with 1 woman out of 7 men, while in Francistown they were 17 men and 5 women only. He revealed that there were not too many women at leadership levels.
“Although the overall representation of women in local government increased by 4.4% in the 2004 elections, the proportion of women mayors or chairpersons have dropped from 10% to none,” said Buti.
He went on to say that these findings justify the need for such a workshop to address the gender gaps. He assured the organizers of the workshop, Gender Links and BALA, that the Francistown City Council fully supported their initiatives of trying to raise awareness of gender recognition in the electoral processes. He informed the council members that it was very important for council members to attend such workshops and to participate fully for the strategy to be implemented fully.
“The Botswana Vision 2016 emphasizes the importance of “AN EDUCATED, INFORMED NATION”. Once informed, you will make positive decisions,” added the Mayor.
The workshop was a follow up of Gender and Local Government Strategy workshop held from 9 -13 February 2009 in Gaborone by the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) and Gender Links, in which a strategy was developed to ensure government commitments to gender equality where translated into action, particularly in the council level.