Majority of Botswana citizens want government to do more for gender equality - Afrobarometer

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Most Batswana want gender equality, according to an Afrobarometer study.
Most Batswana want gender equality, according to an Afrobarometer study.
  • About 80% of Botswana's citizens feel the government should do more to promote a gender balance.
  • There are only 11% women in parliament and 18% in local authority political jobs.
  • About 77% disagree that men should be given preference ahead of women for scarce jobs.

An overwhelming majority of Batswana agree women should have equal rights and that the government should do more to promote this, a new Afrobarometer survey reveals.

Botswana's unemployment rate is roughly 24.72%.

According to Afrobarometer, 77% of those surveyed strongly disagreed that men should be considered ahead of women for scarce jobs.

"Findings show that the majority of Batswana express support for women's right to equality in hiring, land ownership, and political leadership," it said.

Compared to other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Botswana does not feature in the top five African countries on gender parity, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

READ | Human rights report shows need to decriminalise sex workers, says NGO

Rwanda, Ethiopia, and South Africa are listed above the median for African countries.

While most said they were ready for gender parity in public spaces, the general society was not yet ready for more female politicians, according to the survey.

Afrobarometer said:

Almost half consider it likely that women will suffer criticism, harassment, or family problems if they run for political office.

In August last year, female politicians and stakeholders in Botswana came together to call for a constitutional review, and the inclusion of electoral provisions that promote women's political participation.

Some of the calls were for the constitution to include proportional representation.

This was because, in the current public administration spaces, parliament has 11% female representation, while councils have 18% .

This low female representation was partly blamed on the political parties themselves.

Afrobarometer said:

Overall, fewer than half of Batswana approve of the government’s performance in promoting equal rights and opportunities for women, and an overwhelming majority say the government should do more.

Only 42% of citizens say the government is doing "fairly well" or "very well" in its efforts to promote equal rights and opportunities for women, Afrobarometer said, adding that twice as many (80%) say the government needs to do more to advance gender equality. 

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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