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Women Empowerment Should Not Just Be About Numbers

Recently in Parliament the Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Edwin Batshu revealed that over 100,000 women had approached his Ministryís gender financing department for entrepreneurship development and funding.

The figure mentioned by the minister is no doubt big and if the funding and the success of the scheme is as big as the figure, we would be saying well done.

However, they say the devil is in the details and that is exactly what comes out here. Instead of over 100,000 economically empowered, prosperous women employing hundreds of thousands of fellow Batswana, the truth is we in fact have over 100,000 women knocking on the Batshu’s doors looking for empowerment, and finding none.

What comes out is the story of over 100,000 women walking the streets, in need of help, and indicating to Batshu that they need economic empowerment, which is not forthcoming.

It is no wonder that the minister only goes as far as mentioning the figure without  going further to say how many of those enterprising women are thriving, winning multi-million government tenders or creating successful citizen employment.

The fact is there are almost none. According to the minister, all the 107,871 were

taken through orientation and given guidance on how to apply, out of which 4,478 submitted proposals for funding. Of the slightly over 4,000 women who applied for funding, just 566 of them have been approved for funding at the tune of P106,611,567.92 creating employment for 1,416 beneficiaries according to the minister.

The more Batshu elaborates the lower this figure drops, eventually down to 566 women who were actually funded. We may ask, what happened to the more than 100,000 women who showed interest in accessing funding, why they didn’t put in proposals for funding. Is it because they  gave up on ever finding assistance?

The fact that only some 566 women were funded out of the over 106,000, can only suggest many women remain in need of help, remain in need, remain in poverty, and a lot still needs to be done to reach out to this large population that can still be tapped into for economic growth and empowerment of all.




Ka Mme Mma Boipelego

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