GABORONE, March 30, 2023 — Gender equality and women’s empowerment in Botswana has progressed over the past 20 years with Botswana having made significant strides toward equal treatment of women under the law, reveals the latest edition of the 2023 Women, Business and the Law (WBL) report. These findings and the report were discussed in a workshop this week convened by the World Bank in collaboration with the Government of Botswana, through the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture to commemorate International Women’s Day.
“Since the early 2000s, the average Women, Business and the Law score for Botswana has improved by more than 25 points, rising from 38.1 to 63.8,” says Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Eswatini, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa. “Despite this progress, the latest edition of the report shows that the pace of legal reforms toward gender equality has slowed down in recent years, constituting a potential impediment to economic growth. More needs to be done to increase legal equality of opportunity for women around the world and in Botswana.”
For Botswana, this includes overcoming challenges associated with gender-based violence (GBV), voice and leadership, human capital development, and access to economic opportunities. The latest edition of the report shows that the country stands to improve indicators in the areas of mobility, workplace, pay, parenthood, entrepreneurship, and assets.
In addition to the report, the workshop was also a platform to discuss the World Bank’s partnership with the Government of Botswana to prepare a Gender Assessment of Botswana. The assessment will provide (i) an overview of trends and patterns of gender equality in Botswana; (ii) analyze gender gaps in human endowments, economic opportunities, and voice and agency; and (iii) identify priority areas for action. The assessment to be finalized by June 2023 will include an in-depth engagement with the government, civil society, development partners, private sector, and other in-country experts.
“It is time that we embrace the contribution of women at all levels of our development process for there is no doubt that their contribution is essential for sustainable development. The equal participation of women and girls should neither be secondary nor an afterthought,” says Tumiso Rakgare, Minister of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture.
The 2023 Women, Business and the Law (WBL) report is the ninth in a series of annual reports measuring the laws and regulations in eight areas related to women’s economic opportunity in 190 countries worldwide — mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets, and pension. The data provides measurable benchmarks for global progress toward legal gender equality.
Over the past two decades, Eastern and Southern Africa made significant progress toward gender equality. The latest WBL data shows that the region accounted for close to 20% of all reforms worldwide between 2003 and 2022. This year, the report also includes the analysis of 53 years of reforms toward gender equality in the law, provides an insight into Botswana’s achievements, shares experiences from other countries, and highlights areas where further efforts are needed.