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Women and their empowerment

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A week after International Women’s Day, it remains as relevant as ever that women find themselves in a postion where they can make positive changes to their own lives, through their own efforts. Empowerment, a very broad  concept, encompasses socioeconomic and political spheres of women’s lives. Pursuing these multi faceted ideals, are women in their various formations, for instance, Emang Basadi trying to push for better women representation in political office, Women In Business Association (WIBA) going for the jugular in terms of facilitating women’s participation in business, while the newer Mosadi Khumo is all about empowerment of the grass roots woman who is usually left out because of a gap in information and education.
Constituting more than half of the population anywhere in the world, it is common cause that women will be found participating in all different fora for the advancement of their status and welbeing. 20 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the question that is very much up for debate is whether the women’s agenda has been derailed and stagnated?
Some victories continue to be registered as a report released last week, based on the annual Grant Thornton survey of 5, 520 businesses in 36 economies, reveals a slight uptick of women in senior management positions from 22 percent to 24 percent, but a third of businesses still do not have women in leadership positions.
In Botswana, the number of senior leadership roles held by women moved from 16 percent in 2015 to 23 percent in 2016, while 33 percent of businesses still have no women in leadership roles.
But political leadership remains a forte for male species while quotas for women are discussed and agreed upon but hardly ever enforced. A Country Report for Botswana done in 2014, on the progress of the Beijing Declaration revealed that in the social sphere, the advancement of the girl child is most visible in the education sector where Botswana has already achieved gender parity in universal access to basic education. Programmes have been developed to encourage girls to enrol in ICT, the hard sciences and male dominated careers. The health sector has also developed special programmes for girls in order to strengthen their knowledge and skills on sexual and reproductive health, HIV and AIDS prevention, human rights and other related gender equality and equity issues. Though the Country Report at the time showed no specific programmes on girls’ economic empowerment, the Youth Empowerment Scheme and other related youth programmes provide opportunities for girls to venture into economic empowerment initiatives, Government has since responded by tailoring deliberate women’s initiatives, whereby they can work together and achieve in whatever business lines they prefer.
In many respects legal reforms targeting women also include girls. The education and health sectors have respectively created a conducive environment for the advancement of girls.But the most pertinent of all questions is whether women are themselves not segregating each other in the race to become equitable with their male counterparts at the social, ecomomic and political levels.
Are women really empowering each other? Some concerns have arisen around women’s events that seem to celebrate the same high profile women in our society, at the expense of those who might really be in need of the interventions and efforts of women as whole and that is the rural, uneducated, unsophisticated woman.The socialisation of women to not only see themselves as equally capable to males, is a lifetime effort that many will not live through to fruition. It is therefore crucial that days like International Womens day really move towards better introspection rather than about being placated with gifts and superficial accolades. No struggle is won by sitting back and hoping to be given victory because it is the right thing to do but rather such momentouse victories are seized and owned regardless of any odds stacked against efforts.

Women and their empowerment

A week after International Women’s Day, it remains as relevant as ever that women find themselves in a postion where they can make positive changes to their own lives, through their own efforts.

Empowerment, a very broad  concept, encompasses socioeconomic and political spheres of women’s lives. Pursuing these multi faceted ideals, are women in their various formations, for instance, Emang Basadi trying to push for better women representation in political office, Women In Business Association (WIBA) going for the jugular in terms of facilitating women’s participation in business, while the newer Mosadi Khumo is all about empowerment of the grass roots woman who is usually left out because of a gap in information and education.

Constituting more than half of the population anywhere in the world, it is common cause that women will be found participating in all different fora for the advancement of their status and wel being.

20 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the question that is very much up fopr debate is whether the women’s agenda been derailed and stagnated?

Some victories continue to be registered as a report released last week, based on the annual Grant Thornton survey of 5, 520 businesses in 36 economies, reveals a slight uptick of women in senior management positions from 22 percent to 24 percent, but a third of businesses still do not have women in leadership positions.

In Botswana, the number of senior leadership roles held by women moved from 16 percent in 2015 to 23 percent in 2016, while 33 percent of businesses still have no women in leadership roles.

But political leadership remains a forte for male species while quotas for women are discussed and agreed upon but hardly ever enforced.

A Country Report for Botswana done in 2014, on the progress of thew Beijing Declaration revealed that in the social sphere, the advancement of the girl child is most visible in the education sector where Botswana has already achieved gender parity in universal access to basic education. Programmes have been developed to encourage girl s to enrol in ICT, the hard sciences and male dominated careers. The health sector has also developed special programmes for girls in order to strengthen their knowledge and skills on sexual and reproductive health, HIV and AIDS prevention, human
rights and other related gender equality and equity issues.

While Country Report there may be no specific programmes on girls’ economic empowerment, the Youth Empowerment Scheme and other related youth programmes provide opportunities for girls to venture into economic empowerment initiatives, Government since responded by tailoring deliberate women’s initiatives, whereby they can work together and achieve in whatever business lines they prefer.
In many respects legal reforms targeting women also include girls. The education and health sectors have respectively created a conducive environment for the advancement of girls.

But the most pertinent of all questions is whether women are themselves not segregating each other in the race to become equitable with their male counterparts at the social, ecomomic and political levels.

Are women really empowering each other? Some concerns have arisen around women’s events that seem to celebrate the same high profile women in our society, at the expense of those who might really be in need of the interventions and efforts of women as whole and that is the rural, uneducated, unsophisticated woman.

The socialisation of women to not only see themselves as equally capable to males, is a lifetime effort that many will not live to through to fruition. It is therefore crucial that days like International Womens day really move towards better introspection rather than about being placated with gifts and suoerficial accolades. No struggle is won by sitting back and hoping to be given victory because it is the right thing to do but rather such momentouse victories are seized and owned regardless of any odds stacked against efforts.

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