Following the recent incident in which a young woman was stripped naked at the Gaborone Bus Rank, the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Botlogile Tshireletso, who is also the chairperson of Parliamentary Caucus On Women (PCOW), has promised to end the sexist dress code in parliament.
Parliament has a dress code that prohibits women from attending sessions putting on jeans and short skirts or dresses and yesterday the PCOW condemned what transpired recently at the bus rank.
Members of the media challenged the PCOW to address parliament’s sexist dress code first before they could condemn what is happening else where.
“I was not aware that women are not allowed to attend parliament wearing jeans and they are also being judged on the length of their dresses. This is not good and we cannot allow it. This is the harassment that we are talking about,” Tshireletso said.
On many occasions, women in the media are harassed by police and security officers prohibiting them access into parliament when wearing jeans and dresses which are deemed too short and inapproriate for the ocassion.
Tshireletso promised to table the idea for discussion in the next parliament session in order for women to be allowed to wear anything they are comfortable with as long as it is apt.
“I do not have a problem with women attending parliament sessions wearing jeans as long as they are smart, especially women in the media who in most cases are forced to carry heavy cameras and challenged to sit or stand in different postures,” Tshireletso said.
Meanwhile, the PCOW has joined the public at large in condemning the barbaric act that
“We are so disappointed that some of the onlookers who were cheering those men were women who should have done all in their power to speak up for the young woman.
It is evident that sexism, sexual abuse and Gender Based Violence (GBV) remain issues of concern in this country and as the Botswana’s Parliamentary caucus on women, we stand against such acts of violation on women and girls,” Tshireletso said.
She called on their male counterparts and in general, all men in the country to follow suit and end such vile acts on women and girls. “We call on the government to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book and made to account for their actions.
The caucus is open to working with women and civil society organisations to initiate legislation aimed at protecting women or strengthening existing laws,” Tshireletso said.
Tshireletso further said in line with the United Nation (UN)‘s call to fund efforts to fight GBV, they call on the government to commit funds in the national budget towards supporting victims of GBV and to fund programmes directed towards this effort.