FRANCISTOWN: Botswanawomen are still disempowered;unemployed,impoverished and lack access toeconomic and business opportunities.The wealth and incomedisparities that exist betweenwomen and men are still unprecedented.While a number of initiativeshave been undertaken to empowerwomen and uplift them inall spheres where they have beenhistorically disadvantaged, marginalizationand exclusion hindertheir success in venturing intobusiness, the Minister of Labourand Home Affairs Edwin Batshu has said when offi ciating at theNorthern Women Exposition lastweek. According to the Minister,the government has realizedthat women require the facilitationof an enabling environmentfor them to participate more fullyin the country’s developmentwithout undue hindrance.
Hesaid in order to arrest the situationthe government through theGender Affairs Department providesfunds to women to assistthem to start income generatingprojects. “These income generatingprojects promote better familyeconomic status and alleviatepoverty by ensuring sustainablelivelihoods and improved standardsof living,” he noted addingthat his ministry has set aside thetime to exclusively focus on issuesconcerning the economicempowerment of women.Batshu emphasized the need toharness and unleash women’s fullpotential as signifi cant players inthe economy.
“It is therefore selfevident that supporting womenwho have good business ideasthat can be developed into viablebusiness ventures should serve toprevent poverty and vulnerabilityto exploitation as well as to createa hitherto untapped contributionto national economic growth,” hepointed.“To show our commitment toempowering women for the year2012/13 my ministry has fundeda total of 47 women’s groupscomprising 245 benefi ciaries ata total cost of P8, 168 720.00.In addition 15 Non GovernmentalOrganizations (NGO,s) werefunded for a total amount of P2362 905.00 to carry out supportservices such as benefi ciariestraining for technical skills andsocial development,” stressed theMinister.