Sunday, February 5, 2023

Gender equity: Women more educated than men in Botswana

A fresh report by Afrobarometer shows that educational attainment is close to gender-equal in Botswana, with a slightly higher proportion of women with secondary schooling. The report by academics Keneilwe Sadie Mooketsane, Wilford Molefe, Mir Muhtadi Faiaz, Anita Raj also shows that asset ownership favours men when it comes to motor vehicles, computers, television sets, and radios but is gender-equal with regard to mobile phones and bank accounts.

A larger proportion of women (58%) than of men (52%) say they make independent decisions regarding how household money is spent. More than three-fourths (77%) of Batswana endorse gender equality in hiring, rejecting the idea that when jobs are scarce, men should be given priority. Women (82%) and highly educated citizens (86%) are especially likely to support equal rights to a job.

The report shows that citizens agree overwhelmingly (91%) that women should have the same right as men to own and inherit land and almost nine out of 10 citizens (86%) say women should have the same chance as men of being elected to political office.

“However, many also think that if a woman runs for political office, she is likely to be criticised or harassed by others in the community (43%) and to face problems with her family (40%),” the report says.

The report says only 42% of citizens say the government is doing “fairly well” or “very well” in its efforts to promote equal rights and opportunities for women. About twice as many (80%) say the government needs to do more to advance gender equality.

“Equal access to education and assets is a critical indicator of gender equality in society,” the report says.

Survey findings show only modest gender differences in educational attainment in Botswana. Women are slightly more likely than men to have secondary education (53% vs. 48%), while slightly more men than women have primary schooling (22% vs. 18%). The report says women and men do not differ when it comes to the proportions who have no formal education (11%) and those with post-secondary qualifications (19% of women, 20% of men).

Men are more likely than women to control certain assets. More men own motor vehicles (30% vs. 22% of women), computers (21% vs. 16%), television sets (54% vs. 46%), and radios (69% vs. 58%). But women and men are about equally likely to own mobile phones and bank accounts.

Historically, the report says, Botswana has exhibited traits of a patriarchal society in which men often enjoy privileges denied to women; However, more than three-fourths (77%) of Batswana endorse gender equality in hiring, rejecting the idea that when jobs are scarce, men should be given priority.

“Men are less likely than women to support gender equality in hiring (72% vs. 82%). Support for women’s equal right to a job increases as respondents’ education level rises, ranging from 58% among citizens with no formal schooling to 86% among those with post-secondary qualifications,” the report says. An even greater majority (91%) of Batswana “agree” or “strongly agree” that women should have the same rights as men to own and inherit land (Figure 5). Men (91%) and women (92%) are about equally likely to support this attitude.

Fewer half (42%) of Batswana say the government is doing “fairly well” or “very well” in promoting equal rights and opportunities for women, while a majority (56%) disapprove of its performance on this issue.

“When asked what they consider the most important issue related to women’s rights and gender equality for their government and society to address, six in 10 Batswana (59%) cite gender-based violence,” the report Far fewer would prioritise the lack of women in influential government positions (14%), unequal opportunities or pay in the workplace (13%), unequal property rights (6%), and unequal access to education.

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