Sunday, May 22, 2022

‘Gender inequality major challenge’ ÔÇô Bashu

As a response to the ongoing calls for the support of women empowerment and the fight against Gender Based Violence, United Nations Botswana recently launched the Joint Programmes on Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Based Violence (GBV).

“Gender inequality is among the key challenges faced by this country,” said Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Edwin Batshu when speaking at the launch.

He said despite government’s efforts to scale up services, the steady growth has been accompanied by unemployment and persistent poverty.

He further said that in as much as there have been policies to promote gender equality, there still remains a great divide between legislation and reality.

“Men still dominate the political landscape, and the issue of violence against women and girls is of great concern. The socially and culturally constructed norms and roles have shaped the gender relations leading to unequal power relations ,hence gender inequality in access to and control over resources and other socio economic and political opportunities,” the minister said.

He said the GBV Indicators Study conducted by his ministry and Gender Links revealed that at least 63 percent of women have experienced some form of gender based violence in their lifetime and about 62 percent had experienced intimate partner violence.

“The police also continue to register increasing cases of rape,” he said.

As shocking as the statistics may be, Batshu said, they are just a tip of the iceberg.

The minister said there are many cases of GBV that remain unreported across the country.

“The information provided does not necessarily portray the general picture on GBV which includes psychological torture and insecurity that abused women and girls go through,” he said.

Speaking at the launch, the UN Botswana Resident Coordinator, Anders Pedersen, said promoting gender equality and empowering women is critically important for a variety of reasons but most important, it is to engage women in their own right as development agents, as a key contributor to any development efforts.

“There is a very interesting relationship between poverty eradication, fighting HIV/Aids and empowering women. The reality is that there will be no poverty eradication without fighting HIV, no empowerment of women without fighting poverty and HIV, and neither poverty eradication nor zero new infections without empowering women. This is a key message that we have to keep in mind.”

The two-year Joint Gender Programme Support on Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Based Violence aims to improve integration and harmonisation of gender programming to increase impact and sustainability.

The programme will fill the gaps on country level activities for responding to gender issues. It will also support efforts towards provision of equal opportunities for men and women in all aspects of society.

Gender mainstreaming is a globally accepted approach to achieving gender equality and constitutes an essential part of UN Women’s work. It makes women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences integral to the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of all policies and programmes.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper