25 June 2019

Botswana: Beijing Platform for Action Under Review

Francistown — Botswana has strengthened the national legislative and policy framework for gender equality and women's empowerment for the realisation of women's rights.

Department of Gender Affairs director, Ms Thapelo Phuthego said this during the Beijing Platform for Action implementation review in Francistown recently.

Ms Phuthego said the review, leading up to the 25th anniversary of the platform, gave Botswana a chance to highlight its accomplishments and measurable progress towards the universal commitment to all women and girls.

The Beijing Declaration and Action Platform (1995) consisted of 12 critical areas of concern out of which only six were considered to be so when Botswana took part in the commitment, she said.

Ms Phuthego noted that the constant and growing burden of poverty on females, inequalities and inadequacies in and unfair access to education and training, were some of the critical issues for the country.

"The National Development Bank has shown that men take loans to invest and enhance their lives whilst women usually use money to pay school fees and other things which do not develop them," she said.

To reduce the burden of poverty on females, she said, there was need for a gender responsive budget for public funds.

Other inequalities were insufficient and unequal access to health care and associated facilities as well as violence against females, Ms Phuthego said.

She also observed that the nation was concerned about gender inequality in sharing authority and decision-making at all levels and constant discrimination against and infringement of girl child rights.

Among the accomplishments she mentioned the enactment in 2014 of the Anti-Human trafficking Act which amended the definition of exploitation.

The same year, Botswana reinforced the Married Person's Property Act enabling those married under customary law to opt for the administration of their estate by civil law.

However, Ms Phuthego mentioned that there had been some difficulties in achieving accomplishments such as low representation of women in politics and the entrenched social and cultural problems that perpetuated gender inequality.

Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs regional officer, Ms Ofentse Gojamang observed that in the past, females were sidelined from education and training.

She expressed appreciation for the gender equality that was now prevailing in Botswana.

In the past a girl child used clothing as sanitary pads and hid it away from parents as such issues were considered taboo, she said.

Ms Gojamang applauded individuals and stakeholders who worked hard to mitigate against such issues by donating sanitary pads.

Promoting gender equality in the nation was not a matter for the state alone but called on every Motswana to play a part.

Source : BOPA

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