Minister Batshu, was speaking at commemoration of the International Women’s Day in Tlokweng on Tuesday. He said Government had reviewed women’s economic empowerment programme to align it with the current economic landscape. “This programme affords women an opportunity to start income generating activities for their sustenance and their dependence,” he added.
The Minister pointed out that over the past 50 years, some roles, which historically suppressed women in the society had changed. Hence development of new laws guaranteeing women civil rights and allowing them to freely participate in the country’s development.
Minister Batshu said women had ascended to National Assembly, cabinet, house of chiefs and other portfolios that were initially men’s domain such as football and the army. “We have in addition seen some traditional practices change, particularly inheritance. Today, our widows and daughters inherit property,” he noted.
Minister Batshu said the world economic forum, annual global gender gap report and index for the third year in a row, ranked Botswana as number one in the world in terms of gender based education attainment. The minister also noted that his ministry recognised the importance of dikgosi and had since 2012 continued to engage them on mainstreaming gender in the customary justice system.
Former education minister, Dr Gaositwe Chiepe, said women had proven that if they were given an opportunity to participate in the development of the country and decision making, they could become good leaders. She, however, decried low participation of women in politics and said this was so because women lacked faith in themselves.
Dr Chiepe further called upon the society to give children equal opportunities at home and added that women must not try not to imitate men. “Women, have faith in yourself, you have what it takes to make it,” she added.
Head of the European Union Delegation in Botswana and SADC, Mr Alexander Baum said they had been supporting gender parity in Botswana. He said this was done through working with organisations such as Kagisano Women Shelter, Stepping Stone International among others. (BOPA)