Educate Batswana on good laws

On Wednesday, the government approved the National Policy on Gender and Development to replace the Women in Development policy of 1996.

The new policy will enable the country to align itself with international and regional protocols in addressing developments, as well as gender issues.

This is a positive move for the country especially that this is a call that the authorities took too long to address despite constant reminders from other stakeholders.

“The National Policy on Gender and Development has at its core, a recognition and appreciation of differences between women and men; differences that are based on physiological and biological; as well as social realities. The long term goal of the policy is to reduce inequalities in the opportunities and outcomes of social, economic, cultural, and legal development for both men and women,” the statement from the ministry of Labour and Home Affairs reads.

Over the years the ministry has tried to address other issues such as inequality of spouses in marriages through the 2007 amendment of Marital Act, to make it compulsory for spouses to consult each other before engaging in any transaction that affects their joint Estate. A few years later, then minister Gladys Kokorwe, successfully tabled a private members’ bill, which gave birth to Domestic Violence Act. Among other pertinent issues, the law seeks to protect cohabiting partners in conflict or when one passes on.

These are positive developments. But then, while good intended laws and policies may be passed, the challenge of lack of or little public education remains. Law enforcement agencies often find themselves in a dilemma of enforcing the law, which its beneficiaries are not aware of.

While some of the laws are intended to protect women and the girl-child, there is another challenge of that not all perpetrators of violence and discrimination are men. There are women who are a thorn in the flesh of fellow women and girl-children. In many cases it is mothers, and sisters who launch an attack on the spouse or their in-law whenever there is a conflict, or death of their son or brother. They are always the first to grab what they believe is their son or brother’s property in a case of death or disability. Even when the relationship has borne children, the sisters or mothers often ignore these orphans and grab whatever they can lay their hands on, at the same time accusing the in-law of having contributed to the death of their kin.  It is therefore, important that the government targets different layers of the community to appraise and educate them on these laws.

Also, it is our hope that our legislators make laws to correct past mistakes, not to disadvantage others by making life very difficult for them. We hope that at the same time, the new laws will promote fairness where there is need for all parties to compete for a position, public office or tender to supply goods and services to a public entity.

Today’s thought

“We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our

sons more like our daughters.”


– Gloria Steinem

Editor's Comment
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