H.E. Ms. Lesego Ethel Motsumi
Botswana has made significant progress in promoting and achieving gender equality in the last decade. The constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, colour, place of origin and tribe. The country is also party to and complies with a number of international protocols, and regional gender declarations aimed at eliminating gender inequality.
Protocols such as the Beijing Declaration-platform for action, Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), and Southern African Development Community (SADC) declaration on gender and development are ratified or in the process of being ratified.
According to a population census conducted in 2011, for every 100 females, there are 96 men. A slight improvement from the 2001 census that had 100 females to 94 males. This generally means that of the 2 million people in Botswana, slightly over half of them are female. In Botswana, the girl child has equal opportunity to access services and resources as the boy child. In general, female enrolment in primary and junior secondary school is greater than that of males. Females are increasingly dominating in most industries, the largest being hospitality and retailing.
Botswana continuously reviews laws to ensure that they are fair, non-discriminatory and conforms to international conventions. The number of women in Botswana holding decision-making positions stands at 45 percent. These positions cut across all sectors of both the public and private sector, in traditional male domains such as members of parliament, chieftainship and priesthood. Institutions that currently have women as leaders include - the Reserve Bank of Botswana, National Assembly, the Attorney General, the Directorate of Financial and Economic Crime and the Ombudsman.
Despite the high economic development of the country, Botswana still experiences some level of inequality. Therefore, gender and development is a priority issue to the government of Botswana. In an effort to close the gap between males and females, the government of Botswana has put in place policies to protect, promote and motivate women in all sectors of government. The government has funding schemes that solely target women-owned enterprises to increase their participation in socio-economic activities of the country. Most companies that invest in Botswana are required to show their strategy for gender mainstreaming. Compared to its peers, Botswana continues to be a beacon of hope for gender parity in all spheres of human endeavours.
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