Economic Empowerment and Livelihood
A Theoretical Perspective on Women and Poverty in Botswana
Botswana has made remarkable progress in terms of economic and social development.
The position of the government is that policies and programmes should benefit all citizens equally.
More specifically, the government of Botswana has recognised women’s role in economic
development and efforts have been made to integrate gender in the development process. Access
to economic opportunities for everyone to development is an overall goal clearly stated in the
various national development plans, policies and programmes. Gender plays a major role in the
formulation and implementation of these intervention strategies. For instance, the National Gender
Programme Framework implemented and monitored by the Gender Affairs Department
acknowledges that gender is a key element in the development process. Several strategies have
been formulated to improve women’s status by enhancing their participation in the economy.
Despite these efforts, there exist disparities among men and women in the country. Although
women constitute more than half of the population in Botswana, they are more vulnerable to
poverty and make up the majority of the unemployed. They are poorer than men, have less access
to and control over economic resources and skill training. Female-headed households have to
survive on the lowest incomes relative to those households headed by males. To analyse the
situation, the paper utilized various theoretical perspectives including the gender analysis approach
which covers such perspectives as the Women In Development (WID); Women and development
(WAD); and Gender and Development (GAD). The paper also applied the Power and Patriarchy
Theory and the Life Course Theory. To present a comprehensive picture of the status of women,
the study utilized data derived from 2009/10 Botswana Core Welfare Indicators Survey (BCWIS)
and the 2011 Population and Housing Census.
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