A professor at the University of Botswana has challenged President Ian Khama to appoint a Gender Officer at his office.
Professor Emmanuel Botlhale said the appointment will enhance women’s political participation.
He was speaking at the Gender Links training for female council candidates this week, and said the officer should have a dedicated monitoring and evaluation department.
According to Botlhale the department’s role will be to drive the implementation of the gender monitoring and evaluations tools as well as oversee the process.
It will also follow the gender main streaming programme of the political process reforms and seeing how it benefits disadvantaged groups.
He added that the officer must submit annual gender main streaming reports to consultative forums such as cabinet and the Electoral Management Board.
“Under international standards, men and women have an equal right to participate fully in all aspects of the political process. In practice, however, it is often harder for women to exercise this right. However women must self-select to stand for elections,” he advised.
The Professor said they can no longer afford to deny the full potential of one half of the population, noting that the world needs to tap into the talent and wisdom of women.
He said political parties are among the most important institutions affecting women’s political participation and that in most countries, parties determine which candidates are nominated and elected and which issues achieve national prominence.
“The role of women in political parties is therefore a key determinant of their prospects for political empowerment, particularly at the national level. Political parties are so influential in shaping women’s political prospects, Governments and international organizations seeking to advance the participation of women in elections justifiably tend to focus on the role of political parties,” said Botlhale.
Commenting on barriers to women’s political participation Botlhale said politics have traditionally been a male domain that many women have found unwelcoming or even hostile.
“Women politicians across the globe confront a ‘masculine model’ of politics.In many cases, they lack political party support and have no access to quality education and training necessary to enter politics. There is also lack of sustained contact and cooperation with other public organizations such as trade unions and women’s groups,” he revealed