The Global Gender Gap Index report 2020 released this week has ranked Botswana in the bottom 20 countries in the world with “pitiable” political empowerment.
The report which is published annually by World Economic Forum, graded Botswana “number 135 out of 153 countries” in the world in as far as enabling equal participation of women in political environment is concerned. In the study, Botswana scored a paltry 0.079 on an average score of 0.239 amongst countries in the world. In relation to women specifically in Parliament, Botswana scored poorly at 0.105, an average country score of 0.298, thereby standing at position 138 out of 153 countries.
Females recorded in Botswana Parliament were “9.5% as opposed to men legislators at a whopping 90.5%.” The World Economic Forum report states that in terms of women in Ministerial positions, it recorded 99 out of the 153 countries, with a score of 0.188 on an average of 0.255. In terms of percentage, “women stood at 15.8% over men’s 84.2%.” In the category of years with female or male head of State over the last 50 years, Botswana was placed at 73 out of 153 with a score of 0.000 over an average 0.190.
There was never a female President in Botswana, and therefore at the classification, it was graded 0%. Botswana, with regard to political empowerment, remains in bottom 20, with countries like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Iran, Papua New Guinea, Yemen, Gambia and Lebanon. The world report, acknowledges that, across the four sub-indexes, on average, the largest gender disparity is—once again—the Political Empowerment gap.
With regard to the Political Empowerment sub-index, 108 countries of the 149 covered in both current and last year’s editions have improved their overall scores, driven mainly by a significant increase in the number of women in parliaments compared to the last assessment. “Nonetheless, to date only 25% of these 35,127 global seats are occupied by women and only 21% of the 3,343 ministers are women; and in some countries, women are not represented at all,” reports states.
In addition, over the past 50 years, in 85 of the 153 countries covered by the report there has never been a female head of state. In parallel to improving representation of women among political leaders, study concedes that the number of women in senior roles within the Economic Participation and Opportunity dimension has also increased.
Globally, 36% of senior private sector’s managers and public sector’s officials are women (about 2% higher than the figure reported last year). Despite this progress, the gap to close on this aspect remains substantial as only a handful of countries are approaching parity. The report points out that in contrast to the slow but positive progress in terms of leadership positions, women’s participation in the labour market is stalling and financial disparities are slightly larger (on average), explaining the step back registered by the Economic Participation and Opportunity sub index this year.
“On average, only 55% of adult women are in the labour market, versus 78% of men, while over 40% of the wage gap (the ratio of the wage of a woman to that of a man in a similar position) and over 50% of the income gap (the ratio of the total wage and non-wage income of women to that of men) are still to be bridged,” it highlights. Further, it says in many countries, women are significantly disadvantaged in accessing credit, land or financial products, which prevents opportunities for them to start a company or make a living by managing assets.
The analysis presented in the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, which is committed to improving the state of the world, is based on a methodology integrating the latest statistics from international organizations and a survey of executives. “This year’s report highlights the growing urgency for action. Without the equal inclusion of half of the world’s talent, we will not be able to deliver on the promise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for all of society, grow our economies for greater shared prosperity or achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” the world study posits.
At the present rate of change, it further observes that it will take nearly a century to achieve parity, a timeline we simply cannot accept in today’s globalised world, especially among younger generations who hold increasingly progressive views of gender equality. Despite (political empowerment) being the most improved dimension this year (driving the overall positive performance) only a mere 24.7% of the global Political Empowerment gap has been closed in 2020.
Since 2006 the Global Gender Gap Index has been measuring the extent of gender-based gaps among four key dimensions (Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment) and tracking progress towards closing these gaps over time. This year’s edition of the report benchmarks 153 countries and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparisons across and within regional peers.
The methodology and quantitative analysis behind the rankings are intended to serve as a basis for designing effective measures for reducing gender gaps. The methodology of the index has remained stable since its original conception in 2006, providing a basis for robust cross-country and time-series analysis.
Iceland, once again has been ranked the most gender-equal country in the world for the 11th time in a row. It has closed almost 88% of its overall gender gap, further improving since last year. Iceland is followed by Norway (2nd, 84.2%), Finland (3rd, 83.2%) and Sweden (4th, 82.0%). Other economies in the top 10 include Nicaragua (5th, 80.4%), New Zealand (6th, 79.9%), Ireland (7th, 79.8%), Spain (8th, 79.5%), Rwanda (9th, 79.1%) and Germany (10th, 78.7%).
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.
Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama).
Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.