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Botswana committed to women empowerment

Botswana is fully committed to the empowerment of women as a way of achieving the promotion of gender equality.

Officiating at the High Level Policy Dialogue on Mainstreaming Gender into Public Finance forum in Gaborone on September 17, the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Mr Edwin Batshu said government was committed to international, regional and national gender equality instruments and their follow up process.

Minister Batshu said key to that was the Outcome Document of Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in 2000, which clearly stated that: “Explicit attention to gender equality goals in the budgetary processes at the national, regional and international levels is essential and therefore governments and other relevant actors are called to take action.”

Some of the action included incorporation of a gender perspective into the design, development, adoption and execution of all budgetary process, as appropriate, in order to promote equitable, affective and appropriate resource allocation.

In addition, stakeholders were to establish adequate budgetary allocations to support gender equality and development programmes that enhanced women’s empowerment and develop the necessary analytical methodological tools and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation.

Minister Batshu however, told the gathering that public finances remained the most significant source of funding for gender and social development policy goals, noting that macroeconomic policies, budgets and national development plans determine how these resources are collected and spent.

The minister noted that a public budget set forth government’s priorities by showing the intended expenditure over a period of time as well as specific expenditure allocation. He regretted that government budgets generally appeared to be gender neutral because they were presented in financial aggregates, with no specific references to men or women.

“It is against this background that my ministry found it necessary to engage with you, accounting officers in key ministries, and captains of the industry, to solicit buy-in and leadership as well as support for capacity building and appreciation for mainstreaming of gender into macro-economic framework and instruments, sectoral policies and public finances,” he said.

Botswana is a signatory to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness; particularly principles which espouse the promotion of national ownership of development processes and outcomes. The declaration also emphasises mutual accountability with cooperating partners as reflected by on-going development programmes.

It also includes specific commitments to eliminate gender discrimination in labour and financial markets as well as in the ownership of assets and property rights, business support services and economic programmes.

Meanwhile, minister Batshu said as a country, Botswana still needed to make stronger and sustained commitment to gender equality in a wide range of areas including gender informed data collection processes; the development of gender responsive national budgets and their execution, as well as carrying out gender inclusive tax policies.

All activities, he said, need to be supported by sex disaggregated data. Nevertheless, he said the capacity building process on mainstreaming gender into public finance will sharpen their skills to analyse the adequacy of existing policy frameworks and assess their long term impact on gender equality and women empowerment.Ends

Source : BOPA

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