State Feminism in Botswana

  • Keneilwe Sadie Mooketsane University of the Witwatersrand, WITS School of Governance
Keywords: State, Feminism, Gender Equality, Political Representation, Women, Development


Women are poorly represented in political decision-making positions in Botswana. More than fifty years’ post-independence, Botswana only has eleven per cent representation of women in parliament, an indication of women exclusion in economic development and governance. The state has done well in many areas of development exhibiting good economic performance and management, good policies, a virtuous public administration, good standing on corruption but failed to put up an equally impressive record on the promotion of women’s rights and inclusive development. Botswana’s economic growth has not been accompanied by gender equality. Women are poorly represented in parliament despite the establishment of the national gender machinery and the exemplary democracy status accorded to Botswana. The article adopts a qualitative and desk-based research approach to assess the role and relevance of the state in advancing the political interests of women; and to explore other factors that inhibit equal representation of women in political decision-making. The article fi nds that the state has not prioritized equal political representation, and its ability to promote women’s interests is questionable. Although established to emancipate women, the national gender machinery reinforces state dominance and patriarchy and fails to address the systematic subordination of women. The political system, dominance of the state, lack of political will, weak civil society and women’s movement, among other factors, contribute to the absence of women in political decision-making.