The Botswana Young Christian Women Association (YWCA) has been encouraged to bridge the gender gap through equally addressing issues that affect young men.
The Christian movement had its annual conference over the weekend where the membership reaffirmed its position to respond to pertinent issues affecting women and young people today.
Youthful YWCA member, who also represented its offshoot -Young Men Christian Association (YMCA), Thuso Molefe noted that it is increasingly becoming important to pay attention to the role that men and boys play towards prosperity and productivity in Botswana.
“It is important therefore that males have to be involved and made aware of how they can become part of the excellence through a new culture of hard work and discipline,” Molefe said.
He said the society is tasked with a challenge to bridge the gender gap and promote gender equality, as well as teach young men responsibilities that would brighten their future.
Further, he said the current system is influenced by people who are ‘almost’ disconnected from the realities of young people hence the urgent need to unite the voice of young men towards gender parity and resolution of the numerous challenges they are faced with. The Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund, chief Boitumelo Molefe who officiated at the YWCA conference themed “Women and Youth Today; Sustainability in the Business World”- commended the movement for playing an advocacy role through active participation in various policy and strategy reviews to ascertain that the aspirations of women and youth are considered in national plans.
YWCA’s programmes such as early childhood and skills development, provision of accommodation, dress making among others were hailed for significant contribution to life long learning.
The centre is renowned for providing an opportunity for continuity of education and upgrading of academic results to especially young people who could not complete their studies in public schools.
Some of the reasons contributing to their dropouts are pregnancy, social and financial challenges at family level and poor academic results. “Since 2011, 587 students have sat for examinations. A total of 25 women and youth graduated from dress-making school in the YWCA North West region which is the most affected by poverty at 28 percent which is way above the national poverty rate of 19.3 percent,” she said.