Botswana Girls continue to face enormous hurdles

International Women's Day

UNICEF Communications
UNICEF Representative IWD
UNICEF Botswana
09 March 2021

The Botswana country office hosted the International Women’s Day commemoration under the theme #choosetochallenge in Gaborone.  

The commemoration brought together the First Lady of Republic of Botswana, traditional leaders, civil society, industry icons and the civil society to deliberate on can be challenged to improve status quo for young girls as the come of age and become women in society.  

In scene setting, UNICEF Representative Joan Matji pointed out girls continue to face enormous hurdles in a world that still largely favors boys and men. She further added that “for progress to be achieved, girls’ voices and solutions must take center stage and we must work with girls to take actions that set them up to succeed.” 

For her part, the First Lady of the Republic of Botswana Mrs. Neo Jane Masisi who is also the patron of E Seng Mo Ngwaneng a campaign against sexual abuse of children that noted that “reports show that abuse of women and girls increased during the pandemic! Clearly, the COVID-19 has precipitated the pre-existing injustices and inequalities that are prevalent in our society, and as such, reversed the progress that had previously been made in empowering women’s girls.” 

A panel discussion featuring the British Commissioner Sian Price, Pearl Ranna a farmer, Katlego Nthusang a high achieving student, and Matlhogono Mponang a corporate leader passionate about mentoring the next generation of leaders shared reflections on how they are challenging norms in society that would otherwise disenfranchise them.  

A senior traditional leader Kgosi Mosadi Seboko identified specific practices in the Setswana culture that are unfair and perpetuate gender inequalities. She shared specific examples of how she is challenging norms and stereotypes.

A clear and resounding call to action was made to those in physical attendance and those joining virtually to look for opportunities to challenge to norms, practices and stereotypes that perpetuate gender inequality.  

Pearl Ranna who ventured into farming at early age stressed that importance of education as it gives girls more choices.