Botswana: Women Empowerment Needs Multi-Dimensional Approach

Palapye — Women's empowerment in politics requires a multi-dimensional approach, Ms Silvia Bopp-Hamrouni has said.

Ms Bopp Hamrouni, who is Europe Union Delegation - Head of Political, Press and Information section said this at the end of the 50/50 By 2030: Women in Politics Workshop organised by Gender Links in collaboration with European Union in Palapye recently.

Thus, she said preventing violence and harassment against women in elections should be a priority.

She said there was also need to put more emphasis on bringing more women, particularly young ones, into political parties, train women leaders and further boost their skills so that they were able to participate actively in elections as candidates and voters.

The workshop sought to analyse the outcomes of the general elections held in October last year which its results showed distinctive narrative that women continued to be under-represented in political leadership positions.

Like in some states around the world, she said Botswana had a low number of women holding leadership roles in the political cadre.

She explained that the October 2019 general elections depicted that out of the 57 parliamentary seats, three women were directly elected to parliament while four more entered parliament as specially elected MPs.

She also noted that cabinet comprised four women ministers out of 18 ministerial positions and two assistant ministers out of six posts.

She said factors such as women's reluctance to take up leadership roles in major political parties, gender norms and expectations also hindered women from progressing in politics.

"Even in some European countries, exactly 100 years after women won the vote or were first elected to parliament, data shows that women continue to be under-represented in politics and public life, in the European parliament, national parliaments and governments and local assemblies," she said.

Also, Ms Hamrouni said the EU was cooperating with Gender Links on two projects financed under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights which included empowering women in ending gender violence in Botswana as well as ending GBV community by community in Botswana.

Further, she indicated that her organisation had also launched a communication campaign called 'Monna Tia' to create awareness about GBV.

She said EU, together with Department of Gender Affairs and UN Women, were convening the gender dialogue on gender related topics among civil society organisations, government and other stakeholders.

"We are at this moment working on how we can follow up on these projects to achieve a better representation of women in the 2024 elections," she said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Gender affairs, British High Commission representatives, Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as well as representatives from BALA and Gender Links who are event pioneers, made presentations on women's role and how to encourage them to take part in politics and leadership positions.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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