By Kemang Banyatsang

The University of Botswana Gender Policy Programme committee in collaboration with SADC celebrated International Women’s Day with reflections on the theme: “Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.”

In an engaging and enlightening panel discussion, held at the UB Library Auditorium, the plight of women and their challenges when it comes to equal access to education and training in science and technology were debated, analyzed and critiqued by the panelists and the attendees alike.

Dr Nwendampole, a panelist and an industrial designer by profession observed that encouraging more women to become industrial designers would create a dilemma in that as much as it would be good to have gender equality in this field, chances of women being integrated in the economy as industrial designers would be slim because of the apparent evidence that Africa is de-industrializing.

“Unless Africa integrates science and technology into the production system, which entails management, creation and exploitation of knowledge, we shall continue to face this dilemma.” Said Nwendampole  who then  to drive her point home went on to ask sarcastically if anyone in the audience had ever eaten a chocolate made in Ghana although Ghana is a well known big producer of cocoa?

Meanwhile, addressing the theme, the keynote speaker at the occasion, Dr. Mpho Gilika who is the Executive Director of the African Women Leadership Academy said that even before we can talk about providing education and training for women and girls we must think about the security and safety of them in homes, schools, churches and workplaces.

“The truth is that  for girls to live dignified lives, they need secure homes with good parental support, A secure environment with strong parental guidance and support comes first for such an environment provides a girl with self confidence, self esteem, resilience and all good qualities that lead to a choice of a quality life. This is a basic need,” she said much to the applause of the audience. The day ended on a high note with a viewing of and mini exhibition, refreshments and lively entertainment by Mogwana cultural group.

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