A two-day workshop on the advancement of women’s access to justice ended on Wednesday as participants looked to the future with renewed optimism.
The workshop was organized by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and Metlhaetsile to discuss and find solutions to issues that hinder women from enjoying the same rights as men.
During a reception dinner that was held at Tlotlo Hotel to celebrate those who work to advance women’s access to justice throughout Botswana, Kelebogile Pinkie Kgabi, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs hailed the workshop as she said it came at a time when her ministry was focusing on the 16 Days of Activism against gender based violence.
Kgabi said women were generally disadvantaged when it comes to access to justice. “Socially most women lack the education and they find it very hard to seek help concerning the justice system without help from their male counterparts.
Culturally they are told never to wash their dirty linen in public and as a result they tend to suffer silently and there is generally a lack of capacity to respond to women’s worries.
Dr Unity Dow who was representing Metlhaetsile said the womens plight especially domestic violence existed because they live in a culture that emphasises family while the law emphasizes the individual. She pointed to child maintenance as one of the most challenging areas that disadvantages women over men.
“A child becomes a burden to a woman because she has the obligation to fend for it while the man moves on and ignores the responsibility.
That is why men tend to advance in their personal lives than women because they run away from their responsibility.
We’ve made a comparison with other countries in the region and we’ve realised that in Botswana the men are worse than those in other countries when it comes to other countries. Child maintenance is a major problem.”