Gaborone — Faith based organisations have been commended for their commitment to the attainment of productive development based on gender equality.
The praise came from the Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Ms Dorcas Makgato who was speaking at the organisation,s workshop on June 5.
She said the gender equality principle was essential in achieving sustainable development and true social justice for women and men, boys and girls around the country.
Ms Makgato said the theme, 'To Be bold for Change', emphasised the need to take audacious steps for changing the status of women and girls and therefore needed to be reflected upon.
She expressed delight that in spite of the diversity of faith and religious backgrounds, participants were all concerned about the spiritual wellbeing of communities.
She said the workshop afforded them the opportunity to introspect and reflect on factors of faith and religion that may be an impediment to equal participation of women and men in the country's development.
She said societies that were more equitable developed faster especially where clear commitment had been made for gender equality.
Ms Makgato noted that churches should identify gender gaps and develop specific measures to address such and urged all to develop new narratives of gender equality and human rights in the ideals of faith.
"In addition to the National Policy on Gender and Development, Vision 2036 under human and social development recognizes gender equality as central to socio-economic, political and cultural development," she said.
She said the National Development Plan 11 also provided gender mainstreaming and prevention and elimination of gender-based violence under the governance, safety and security thematic area.
She further commended churches for taking the initiative of mainstreaming gender into the faith-based sector thus helping to bring positive development towards the achievement of gender equality.
National gender commissioner at Faith Based Organisation, Ms Bonolo Mmereki-Burns urged all faith organisations to continue community moulding on issues of gender as well as highlighting issues of women and men, boys and girls.
She said a church was a tool that could enable all to root out those aspects of faith traditions that perpetuate the oppression, exclusion and marginalisation of women.
Ms Mmereki-Burns said faith-based organisations should provide strategic position and monitor implementation on gender and development.
She said the church should try by all means to promote and create an equitable egalitarian society.
Among the faith based organisations represented were mainline, African traditional and evangelical churches as well as Islamic and Sikh religions.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>