Debates on the Gender Policy

The Minister of Labour and Home Affairs has laid before Parliament the National Policy on Gender and Development 2015 for consideration and possible adoption. Apart from the land policy, the gender policy has sparked a heated debate in Parliament.

Most Members of Parliament who have debated the policy lament the narrow definition of gender which they contend limits issues of gender to male or female. They argued there are contemporary gender issues that the policy fails to deal with. For instance, they contended that the policy not only fails to define but also doesn’t address issues of gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, among others. The policy is more about the plight of women and how their situation may be improved. Whilst this is a good thing as shall be discussed below, the policy is unable to deal with other issues relating to gender.

Some of the issues raised by MPs include the need to reform laws and the gender policy to cater for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual and Intersexed. Some rhetorically asked what business does a secular state have in this day and age have in policing bedrooms. If people are good citizens; productively contributing to the economy and paying tax and obeying all laws why should they be punished and discriminated against simply for who they love? The reality is that these groups, however small or insignificant one may think they are, are here to stay. These groups should be accorded space to associate, express themselves and even assemble to deal with matters concerning them. Further arguments were made that the same culture which inhibited women’s fundamental human rights and pushed them to fringes of the social, economic and political sphere is the same one that’s thwarting efforts to recognise LGBTIs. Emphasis was put on the fact that Botswana is a secular state and that religion shouldn’t even be an issue.

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Keep your mask close

Wearing of masks behind closed doors has been mandatory following the government’s August decision that the public was freed from masking in outdoor spaces.According to a press statement from the ministry, all other remaining COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing in schools and requirements for vaccination or PCR tests at ports of entry have also been relaxed.Statistics still show that hundreds still die daily due to the pandemic around...

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