US Ambassador to Botswana Craig Cloud notes with concern the alarming incidents of sexual harassment that make it difficult for women to advance in politics.
Claude made the above observation when addressing Women in Politics about Capacity Building for Political Advancement to launch the Women in Politics Project and Symposium.
Cloud noted that some female politicians complained that some men solicit sexual favors from them in exchange for support in political campaigns. The event was held under the slogan “Go ruta Mosadi ke go ruta sechaba”.
“There are other factors that affect women’s advancement in politics, as women first have to seek approval from their men, families and the community in which they live before running for elections. The most worrying thing is that we have heard that women are not supportive of each other.” Cloud said.
Women make up 52% of Botswana’s population but only three out of 57 constituencies have elected women as members of parliament in the last elections. Batswana must change and I want to see men campaigning for women. This project is about raising awareness and finding a solution to increase women’s participation in politics,” said Craig.
Dr. Augustine Majulondo said the one-year program aims to increase the role and influence of women participating in Botswana’s political institutions and decision-making. He argued that even when women do gain representation, their influence is limited due to the centralization of party control in the leadership of male-dominated political parties.
Capacity Enhancement will present a program to relevant and strategic partners with a particular interest in political parties, civil society, academia, government, media and the private sector. It will also reflect on the history and challenges faced by women in politics from the perspective and experiences of different stakeholders.
For her part, Minister of Citizenship, Gender and Immigration Anna Mukgetti said that women continue to be a minority at the negotiating tables at all levels of life.
She said in 2018, Imang Basadi conducted a study that found many challenges that prevent women from actively participating in politics.
These challenges include, among others, the lack of deliberate actions that promote women’s participation in political decision-making at all levels within political parties. Wherever political parties have adopted a quota system to promote women’s participation, this has not yielded any positive results. Women are regularly marginalized by their male counterparts, including the language used against them during campaigns is very inhumane and I can testify.”