1. Today, Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/and AIDS (BONELA) joins the United Nations (UN) family and the international community in celebrating the International Women’s Day (IWD). The global campaign theme for this year’s commemoration is “#Embrace Equity”, recognizing the achievements of women from political to social, while calling for gender equity.
  • Celebrated annually on the 8th of March, International Women’s Day provides an opportunity for the global community to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This day also observes in support of taking action against gender inequality around the world.
  • This year’s campaign aims to encourage important conversations on why equal opportunities are not sufficient enough and why equality is not always fair. True inclusion and belonging require equitable action. Equality means that we treat everyone equally, that is each person or group of people is given the same resources and opportunities. Equity on the other hand means that we provide resources and opportunities that fit the specific needs or circumstances of that person or group, and in that way, we can reach a balanced outcome. Equality is about being equal in status, rights and opportunities, whereas equity is about how we get there through fairness and impartiality.
  • Botswana has been ranked top of all countries on the rape statistics in the world at 96.87 per 100,000 people. This is according to a 2023 report recently   released by Wisevoter, a Washington based NGO, Botswana not only topped the chart as the country with the most rape cases in Africa but also the country with the highest rape rate in the world.
  • There is a growing consensus that a major cause of rape is the subordinate position of women in the social, political, and economic order. Rape is a consequence of gender inequality.  The central argument is that rape is rooted in male domination of socio economic and political activities (Williams and Holmes 1981). Thus, rape is expected to be more common where women hold little political or economic power, the sexes are highly segregated, and the occupational status of women is inferior. In such contexts, rape and other forms of sexual assault are viewed as functioning to maintain the subordination of women and preserve the system of male dominance.
  • The recently released Botswana AIDS Impact Results have revealed a higher HIV prevalence among women at 26.2 compared to15.2 among men. Gender based violence disproportionately affects women and the girl child. Therefore, concerted effort should be made to reduce the impact of HIV, GBV and sexual violence among women.
  • As we celebrate International Women’s Day, BONELA acknowledges the continued struggle of women and partakes in advocacy for women’s rights to close the gender gap. Women are unequivocally still underrepresented in public life and decision making, including in areas where decisions are made about issues that affect their lives. When social structures further exacerbate gender based discrimination, political commitment becomes an essential tool in overcoming the fundamental barriers for women and girls. In order to prosper and get real societal change, all States need engagement of women and women’s representation in decision making platforms across all cultural, social, economic and political situations.
  • In commemoration of the International Women’s Day, BONELA appeals to all stake holders to go beyond the rhetoric.  To take real action to ensure that they implement their commitments to address persistent gender inequalities that not only hinder women from fully enjoying their human rights but also deny women the opportunity to effectively participant and contribute to the much desired economic development. BONELA encourages all to make deliberate efforts to promote and embrace equity. A shift from gender equality to the process of gender equity is required for meaningful progress.

For more information, contact BONELA on:

Katlego Sechele at ksechele@bonela.org  or 72282025 | Cindy Kelemi at cindyk@bonela.org  or 72385054