- COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation for women
Despite efforts to empower the girl child, Botswana has made uneven progress towards ending poverty and hunger among women, The Botswana Gazette has established.
According to the United Nations Botswana, Common Country Analysis (CCA) report of 2020, women are more often than men out of the labour force. The report shows that an overall 44.8 percent of women are inactive against 34.9 percent of men who are actively jobbed.
The report has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a hand in disadvantaging women. “Gender-based violence is among other drivers of poverty and inequality (that) have emerged to challenge the realisation of this potential and call for a revised prioritisation of current population issues,” the report says.
A CCA Stakeholder Consultation and Evaluation Validation Workshop held in Gaborone on 10 December 2020 revealed that the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) declined to 3 births per woman in 2017 largely due to implementation of a high-quality family planning programme and an increase in the age at first birth which showed that the mean age of first time mothers was estimated to 27.7 years in 2018.
This development increased women’s participation in the labour market. “However, despite the substantial decline in TFR, the current fertility rate suggests the economy continues to bear a sizable child dependency burden that may limit the availability of resources for savings and future investments,” the report observes. “The burden is attributed to the high number of births from girls aged between 15 years and 19 years.”
The report says the number of births from teenage girls aged 15 and 19 years has shown that there is gap in access to information by adolescent girls and young people, which hinders their ability to exercise their reproductive rights.