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Civil Society, Citizenship and Women’s Right in Botswana

  • Onalena Selolwane
Part of the Women’s Studies at York Series book series (WSYS)

Abstract

In December 1996, Botswana women met from across a broad spectrum of organisational life to deliberate on how they could enhance their share of political space in all areas of public life, particularly the top echelons of power. This conference was an historical event in the annals of Botswana’s postcolonial political life both in terms of the content of deliberations (women’s right to power and how to realise this) and the fact that it was organised outside the context of political party structures (i.e. by a civil society women’s organisation). It was also remarkable in the context of Africa, where governance is usually treated as the exclusive activity of the state, and where the activities of non-state agents and individuals operating outside the echelons of state power are often treated as potential threats to the state.

Keywords

Political Party Married Woman Legal Reform Legal Education Legal Capacity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    J. Ramsay and N. Parsons, 1998, ‘The Emergence of Political Parties in Botswana’, in W.A. Edge and M.H. Lekorwe (eds), Botswana: Politics and Society, Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Kenneth Good, 1997, Realizing Democracy in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, Pretoria: Africa Institute of South Africa.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    I. Schapera (1994), A Handbook on Tswana Law and Custom, Munster-Hamburg: International African Institute.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    See Good; and M. Monageng, 1997, The State and Organised Labour in Botswana: Liberal Democracy in Emergent Capitalism, Aldershot, Brookfield, Singapore and Sydney: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    The dominance of the state in economic activity in Botswana did not come about as a result of pursuit of socialist strategies. Rather, it was due to the absence of local entrepreneurs and a local private sector when the country became independent. So, while espousing free market principles the government of Botswana was the only local agency with the capacity to enter into market production in 1966. And it did this by going into partnership with a consortium of multinational corporations and support from the British government and other bilateral aid donors. For more information on this history, see C. Colclough and S. McCarthy, 1980, The Political Economy of Botswana, Oxford: Oxford University Press. C. Harvey and S. R. Lewis, Jr., 1990, Policy Choice and Development Performance in Botswana, London: Macmillan and OECD Development Centre.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Historically, educational development in Botswana has favoured women at primary and junior secondary levels. This was partly because schools were usually provided in the main villages where, in Botswana’s three-home migratory settlement patterns, young girls normally resided while their brothers resided several kilometres away in scattered cattle-posts. So it was the young girls who were sent to school while their brothers were involved in the more socially valued activity of herding family cattle. The migrant labour system which attracted young males away from Botswana into mining jobs in South Africa encouraged boys to drop out of primary school into the job market, leaving the girls to predominate in the schools. This continued into post-independence times when jobs opened in Botswana, absorbing more men than women. For more information on gender gaps in Botswana’s education, see L. Mafela, 1993, ‘Competing Gender Ideologies in Education in Bechuanaland Protectorate’. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Northwestern University, Chicago; M.P.T. Marope (1994). ‘Batswana Women in Higher Education: from Systematic Exclussion to Selective Engagement’, in S. Stiver-Lie et al. (eds), The Gender Gap in Higher Education, London: Kogan Page. O. Selolwane, 1994, National Report for the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, China, 1995, Gaborone: Women’s Affairs Division, Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    For more detail on the citizenship saga, see O.D. Selolwane, 1998a, ‘Equality of Citizenship and the Gendering of Democracy in Botswana’, in W.A. Edge and M.H. Lekorwe (eds), Botswana: Politics and Society, Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik; O.D. Selolwane, 1997a, ‘Gender and Democracy in Botswana: Women’s Struggle for Equality and Political Participation’, in G. Nzongola-Ntalaja and M. Lee (eds), The State and Democracy in Africa, Harare: AAPS Books.Google Scholar
  8. 19.
    Selolwane, O. 1997c, Workshop on the Effective Use of Women’s Wings of Political Parties, Gaborone: Emang Basadi Women’s Association.Google Scholar
  9. 21.
    See, for instance, O. Selolwane, 1997b, Report on the National Conference for Women in Politics: Setting an Agenda For Women’s Empowerment Towards 1999 and Beyond, Gaborone: Emang Basadi Women’s Association; O. Selolwane, 1998b, Women Preparing to Run for Political Office: A Report on the 1997 National Conference for Women in Politics Gaborone: Emang Basadi Women’s Association.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Onalena Selolwane

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