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Abstract

Botswana has made remarkable progress in terms of economic and social development. The position of the government is that policies and programmes should benefit all citizens equally. More specifically, the government of Botswana has recognised women’s role in economic development and efforts have been made to integrate gender in the development process. Access to economic opportunities for everyone to development is an overall goal clearly stated in the various national development plans, policies and programmes. Gender plays a major role in the formulation and implementation of these intervention strategies. For instance, the National Gender Programme Framework implemented and monitored by the Gender Affairs Department acknowledges that gender is a key element in the development process. Several strategies have been formulated to improve women’s status by enhancing their participation in the economy. Despite these efforts, there exist disparities among men and women in the country. Although women constitute more than half of the population in Botswana, they are more vulnerable to poverty and make up the majority of the unemployed. They are poorer than men, have less access to and control over economic resources and skill training. Female-headed households have to survive on the lowest incomes relative to those households headed by males. To analyse the situation, the paper utilized various theoretical perspectives including the gender analysis approach which covers such perspectives as the Women In Development (WID); Women and development (WAD); and Gender and Development (GAD). The paper also applied the Power and Patriarchy Theory and the Life Course Theory. To present a comprehensive picture of the status of women, the study utilized data derived from 2009/10 Botswana Core Welfare Indicators Survey (BCWIS) and the 2011 Population and Housing Census.

Note on the Author

Dr. Gwen N. Lesetedi is currently a senior lecturer in the Sociology Department, University of Botswana. She holds a PhD (Sociology) from University of Cape Town, South Africa; MA (Demography) from Georgetown University, Washington DC., USA; Post-graduate Diploma, Regional Institute of Population Studies, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana; and BA (Sociology and Public Administration) University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia. Her research interests are in Gender and Development; Urban Development and Poverty and Social Inequalities. She has conducted extensive research in the area of gender and worked with a team of researchers on the Botswana edition of Beyond Inequalities, a series of publications profiling the status of women in Southern Africa. She has also been a part time research associate with Women and the Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) since 1994 and conducted studies most of which have culminated in co-authored publications.

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