The political, economic, and social inequality of women in Africa has been part of international discourse since the 1950s, when the United Nations began interrogating the effects of harmful traditional norms and practices on women across the continent. Human-rights groups have worked with and challenged African governments to promote women’s access to education, health care, economic opportunities, and participation in governance and politics (Murungu, 2017). While progress has been made, persistent gaps are the focus of Sustainable Development Goal No. 5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” (United Nations, 2016).
In Botswana, the African Development Bank’s (2015) Africa Gender Equality Index Report found a mix of strengths and weaknesses. Giving it the seventh-highest overall score in Africa, the report described Botswana as strong in promoting gender equality in economic opportunity and human development, but relatively weak in ensuring legal and political equality.
Data from Afrobarometer’s most recent survey in Botswana show that women generally agree with men that gender equality has improved in recent years and that women enjoy equal rights when it comes to jobs and land ownership. Women are no more likely than men to report gender-based discrimination, and in fact are somewhat more likely than men to find it easy to obtain key public services. Popular support for gender equality at the ballot box has been solid for more than a decade, although one in three men still say they should be given priority for scarce jobs.