Women Need to Take Up Space in Politics – Serame

  • Women pledge support for aspiring women political leaders


Following commemoration of the International Women’s Day on March 8, the Chairperson of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Women’s Wing, Peggy Serame, has emphasised the need for women to take up space in decision-making positions, especially in politics.

Serame, who is the first woman in Botswana to become Minister of Finance, was delivering the keynote address at Women’s High Tea at Avani Hotel and Resort in Gaborone where the First Lady, Neo Masisi, was the Guest of Honour recently.

“In Botswana, women are more than 50 percent (of the population), but when we look at leadership positions, we fall short and it’s even worse in politics,” she said.


“We need more women to take up space in politics, leadership in general. We are getting there but in politics we need to see more women. So I am recruiting.”

She cited the BDP Women’s Wing retreat of November last year where it was resolved to have more women in politics and as candidates in the general elections in 2024.

“If there are more women in the political space, they would be able to make a difference in our communities,” Serame said. “Taking up space for me means saying ‘I am here’ and saying it unapologetically. Saying ‘I am able, I can and I can make a difference.’

“If you ever want to become anything, you need to accept that it comes with a process and part of that process is giving up certain things and accepting that you need help. When you get to the top, make sure to hold another woman’s hand and rise with them and learn together.”

Inspiring the next generation of leaders

For her part, Lady Masisi said the International Women’s Day serves as a reminder of what women have achieved and continue to achieve. It is also a reminder of what women are capable of doing, the realities of the world in which women live, the challenges and what the world has pledged through the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which is achieving gender equality and empowering all women.

Pole position

She asserted that in commemorating the day, people ought to give thought to recovering from COVID-19 and to catch up and close the gender gap. “We know that women continue to play a critical role in the economy of Botswana,” said the First Lady.

“An aspect worthy of mentioning is that according to the 2021 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, Botswana is ranked in pole position with 38.5 percent as one of the countries with the highest concentration of female entrepreneurs (in the world). It is followed by Uganda and Ghana.

“We see a typical Motswana woman trying to make ends meet and tending to the family. More than 50 percent of households are headed by females. Women continue to suffer the brunt of GBV, exclusion and inequalities in terms of pay. So I urge executives to promote women and pay them well.”

98 years

According to the 2022 Global Gender Gap Report, sub-Saharan Africa has the sixth highest regional score and has bridged 68.7 percent of its gender gap. The report notes that at this rate, it would take 98 years to close the gender gap.

“This clearly shows that none of us will be here when that happens,” Lady Masisi said. “But we have hope and it lies in the next generation of leaders whom we need to allow to take up space.”

I am able’

Former Miss Botswana, Palesa Molefe, reminded women that the International Women’s Day is not a day to celebrate being a woman but a day to acknowledge the continuous celebration that women give themselves every day of their lives.

“As a woman, I am able to represent possibilities, to be a light in the darkness, hope in tragedy and to break generational curses,” Molefe said. “I can be whoever I want to be, to speak my mind, fulfil my God-given purpose.

“To have equal opportunities, to empower and be empowered. I believe I am able, and because I have accepted these beliefs, it has become my truth.”