Botswana: Batshu Presents Gender Policy

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Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Mr Edwin Batshu has presented the National Policy on Gender and Development to Parliament.

Presenting the policy in Parliament recently, Mr Batshu said gender formed part of the priorities of the international agenda.

Therefore, he said there was need for a coherent and comprehensive framework to guide the different sectors and agencies involved in development.

Mr Batshu said the policy provided a framework for including the gender perspective in all activities of government and other sectors as well as civil society thereby promoting equal participation of women and men in the development process.

He said the policy had at its core, the recognition and appreciation of the differences between women and men, differences that were based on physiological and biological realities as well as social ones.

The policy, he added, also identifies a range of issues, systems and institutions that must take on board the differences and secure women and men alike opportunities to maximise their potential as human beings and valuable citizens of Botswana.

Mr Batshu said the long term goal of the policy was to reduce inequalities in the opportunities and outcomes of social, economic, political, cultural and legal development for both women and men.

The National Policy on Gender and Development, he said, replaces the Women in Development Policy.

Minister Batshu said it was a culmination of a number of initiatives in the nation's progress towards the realisation of an ideal in which equality, justice and dignity for all citizens were guaranteed and protected.

The policy also provides guidance, direction, coordination and facilitation on gender and development programming.

It was anticipated that it would improve the implementation of the country's commitment to international obligations for the achievement of gender equality, objectives of the Post 2015 Development Agenda, Botswana's Vision Beyond 2016 and National Development Plans.

Mr Batshu said the approach employed by the policy highlights the expectation of national commitment to provide development and improved wellbeing of women, men, girls and boys on an equal and non-discriminatory basis.

The priority areas for the policy, he said, were among others special measures targeting vulnerable groups of women, men, girls and boys cutting across areas such as political power, democratic governance and decision making, as well as access to justice, protection of human rights and freedom from violence.

Meanwhile, the debate on the policy was deferred to a later date to give MPs time to familiarise themselves with it.

SOURCE: AllAfrica, July 27th 2015: http://allafrica.com/stories/201507270775.html