38.As regards welfare of victims, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is conducting continuous training to case workers on the Ministry’s role in the implementation of the Act. These trainings further translate to public education on issues of trafficking in persons as per the Anti-Human Trafficking Action.
39.Regarding prosecution of cases of trafficking, seventeen (17) human trafficking cases have been forwarded to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and in two (2) of those cases the accused have been convicted.
Reply to paragraph 11 of the list of issues CEDAW/C/BWA/Q/4
40.To protect women in prostitution against HIV, Government has stepped up efforts at national level to address HIV prevalence among Female Sex Workers (FSW). Access to services by FSW is currently at 95 per cent with Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) coverage at 87 per cent. Provision of targeted services for FSW is a priority in the National Strategic Framework III (NSFIII).
41.In order to combat exploitation of prostitution and reduce its demand, Government started dialogue on the matter to raise public awareness. To wean those in the trade and support them, Government provides technical and financial support to Civil Society Organizations involved in rehabilitation of FSW. In addition, Government in 2014 enacted the Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation to address among others; trafficking of females for purposes of prostitution. The same was amended to increase fines and sentences of perpetrators.
Participation in political and public life
Reply to paragraph 12 of the list of issues CEDAW/C/BWA/Q/4
42.The 2015 National Policy on Gender and Development identifies Democratic Political Governance and Leadership as one of the prioritized national development areas for gender mainstreaming. The Policy acknowledges that good governance and leadership are critical for sustainable development; with particular efforts towards gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Equally emphasized, is institutional strengthening as well as capacity and skills development at all levels including for political governance and leadership structures, processes and systems. To realize these, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) such as Emang Basadi, Gender Links, Letsema, Botswana Council of Churches have worked in partnership with the Government and Development Partners such as the UN agencies, Friedrich Ebert Foundation and USAID; to provide guidance and support in capacity and skills development for increased representation of women in political leadership.
43.Precise activities include: a series of consultative platforms and capacity building for women candidates conducted by Gender Links in 2014 leading to the 2014 general elections. These efforts resulted in identifying impediments to women’s participation in politics as: patriarchy; lack of resources; limited political savvy; and the electoral system. To deal with these, participants resolved that there is need for strengthening partnership and increased knowledge on strategies for campaigning through peer learning.
44.Letsema on the other hand offers training of women in politics, in partnership with development partners such as the British High Commission in Botswana; Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the Botswana Resource Support for Women in Politics. The Organisation supports women that are either in or wish to enter politics across all parties by providing the following: Expertise and technical assistance; In-kind services such as printing, campaign photography or video; Vouchers for services or goods; Fora and venues to improve women’s visibility and public exposure; Data-base of information of interest to women in politics; Public education on women’s role in politics; and Advocacy on policy to enhance women’s political participation.
45.Emang Basadi Women’s Association which is a major contributor in the promotion of women in political decision making in Botswana facilitates with literature and information on women in politics and undertakes various capacity building initiatives such as focus group discussions.
Reply to paragraph 13 of the list of issues CEDAW/C/BWA/Q/4
46.The enrolment rates have not been disaggregated by sex due to challenges of projections for 2015 by Statistics Botswana. However, the national net enrolment rate of the office primary school age (6 -12 years) for 2015 was 94.7 per cent. The secondary school national enrolment rate at the official age of 13 – 17 years was 69.9 per cent. The completion rate primary school stood at 94.7 per cent while at secondary school (junior) it was 97.7 per cent. The dropout rates for primary school level by gender were 0.52 per cent for females and 0.96 per cent for boys. At secondary school level (13 – 17 years), the dropout rate for girls was 1.95 per cent while it was 1.37 per cent for boys.
47.One of the major measures taken to ensure that all school-age girls attend school is the implementation and promotion of the Children’s Act which emphasizes among other things the “right to education” with the onus not only placed on the parents but on the community at large.
48.The state is supportive of Inclusive education being implemented and the Government of Botswana through the Ministry of Basic Education has pledged to allocate more resources to assessment so as to assist well in time. This targets all learners irrespective of gender.
Reply to paragraph 14 of the list of issues CEDAW/C/BWA/Q/4
49.There were Twelve thousand and twelve (12012) learners who accessed the back to school program in 2013. All these learners’ irrespective of origin or location were paid for by the government. That is, all their education costs including accommodation and examination fees were paid for by Government.
50.The Government continues to build schools closer to communities in an effort to reduce boarding and or children travelling long distances. For instance the number of boarders in primary schools reduced form Four thousand nine hundred and ten (4910) to Four thousand two hundred and sixty-seven (4267) in 2015. One of the reasons being that some settlements were gazetted meaning that they qualify for basic amenities one of them being a primary school.
51.The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is responsible for uplifting lives of Remote Area Communities (RACs) through the Remote Area Development Programme (RADP). The government has further developed the Affirmative Action Framework in 2014 (AAF) that will be implemented for a ten-year period from 2015 -2025. This is in response to intensified implementation of programmes and projects that will provide and promote equal opportunities for the Remote Area Communities, for optimal benefiting from development of the country.
52.To ensure access to education, children at primary school level, who leave further from schools, enrol at boarding schools for easier access.
Reply to paragraph 15 of the list of issues CEDAW/C/BWA/Q/4
53.The Employment Act, Section 23 (d) states that an employer shall not terminate the contract of employment on the ground ……… marital status, gender, sexual orientation…..
54.There is no intention in the current review of the Employment Act designed to promote women’s employment, including as regards rural women, women with disabilities and LGBTI women since it is already covered in the current Act.
55.The Employment Act Section 2(1) defines employment as the performance by an employee of a contract of employment. It also defines an employee as any person who has, either before or after the commencement of this Act entered into a contract of employment for the hire of his labour. The definitions do not discriminate between male and female.
56.Wages is defined as remuneration or earnings, however designated or calculated, which is paid by an employer to an employee, is capable of being expressed, is fixed by mutual agreement or by legislation, and is payable by virtue of written or unwritten contract of employment. This definition protects all employees to ensure equal remuneration of women and men for work of equal value, under the Employment Amendment Act of 2010.
57.Section 23 (d) also states that an employer shall not terminate the contract of employment on the ground of the employee’s race, tribe, place of origin, social origin, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, colour, creed, health status.
58.The on-going review of the Employment Act is, among other things, intended to strengthen punitive measures for non-compliance with provisions of the Act. In addition, the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value would be incorporated in the Act. With regard to access to vocational training, admissions for 2019 stands at 20171. Of this figure, 7460 are women. Efforts aimed at mindset change to encourage women to enrol for course that were traditionally male dominated include promoting their intake of mathematics, science and technology courses at secondary schools.
Reply to paragraph 16 of the list of issues CEDAW/C/BWA/Q/4
59.The issue of sexual harassment will be incorporated in the Employment Act during the review of the Act. Notwithstanding this, a Code of Good Practice on Sexual Harassment which is intended to bring awareness and provides guidelines on issues of sexual harassment in the workplace is in place.
60.Section 23 (d) of the Employment Act also states that an employer shall not terminate the contract of employment on grounds of the employee’s race, tribe, place of origin, social origin, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, colour, creed, health status. The Employment (Amendment) Act of 2010 has set a minimum pay of 50 per cent salary for women on maternity leave as compared to the previous dispensation where it was 25 per cent of the basic pay. This provision is applicable to both public and private sectors. Employers and employees can negotiate more favourable terms and conditions. Botswana continues to comply with ILO Convention No. 100 on equal pay and ILO Convention No. 111 concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation as reflected in the amendments made to the Employment Act.
61.With regard to boosting women’s entrepreneurship, the Government implements the Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme through which women are supported with grants to start small businesses. These range from USD$10 000 for individuals to US$50 000 for groups of 10 or more.
Reply to paragraph 17 of the list of issues CEDAW/C/BWA/Q/4
62.Recent maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is 156.6/100 000 (Stats Botswana, 2018). Measures taken to reduce the MMR include monitoring of adherence to clinical care standards to address the top 4 causes of maternal mortality under the Maternal Mortality Reduction Initiative at pre-natal period and have now expanded to pregnancy monitoring to improve management for the 4 main causes of maternal death.
63.Free family planning services are provided nationally. Long Acting Reversible contraceptive methods are being rolled to the whole country. Comprehensive sexuality education is being provided in and out of school through teachers and in collaboration civil society organization.
64.Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control Strategy introduced See and Treat Services which are offered free and are offered in 20 districts to date, and preparations are ongoing to introduce it in the remaining 7 districts by April 2019. For the year 2017, a total of 26,109 women were screened for cervical cancer using the See and Treat and the Papanicolaou tests (PAP smears) screening methods.
Reply to paragraph 18 of the list of issues CEDAW/C/BWA/Q/4
65.The 2012 Revised National HIV and AIDS Policy and the National Strategic Framework II (2010 – 2016) took into account the gender dynamics of HIV and AIDS and stresses the need to embrace gender sensitivity as one of the guiding principles of the national response to HIV and AIDS. However, programmes implemented under NSF II made little impact in reducing disproportionate vulnerability of girls and young women to HIV infection owing largely to issues of behaviour change.
66.The NSF 111 is aligned to 2016 United Nations Declaration on HIV and AIDs which sets the 2030 agenda. Under this declaration, Botswana commits to human rights based and all-inclusive HIV response that reaches those left behind, achieving 75 per cent reduction of new infections among people of all ages. NSF III prioritises key populations, including FSW and adolescent girls and young women.
67.In order to raise awareness among men and women on safe sex practices, Government provides financial support to CSOs involved in raising awareness on safe sex practices. In addition, the Department of Social Protection safety net for child-headed households is accessible to all girls deprived of their parents as a result of HIV and AIDS.
Economic empowerment of women
Reply to paragraph 19 of the list of issues CEDAW/C/BWA/Q/4
68.In addition to the information provided at Paragraph 6 above, the Government of Botswana and the International Trade Centre (ITC) recently signed the Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment to adopt initiatives that support women participation in trade. Furthermore, the Women Finance House which is a Non-Governmental Organisation affiliated to Women’s World Banking in New York, compliments Government’s efforts by providing credit and other services such as: education on gender issues; income generation/cooperatives; legal issues/human rights; and small business management.
69.The Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) which is responsible for enterprise development provides subsidized loans for various business ventures. In its effort to mainstream gender, the Agency introduced the Mabogo-Dinku product of which over 90 per cent beneficiaries are women. The product comprises of short term loans ranging between USD50 to a maximum of USD1500 per person, payable in 3-12 months.
Reply to paragraph 20 of the list of issues CEDAW/C/BWA/Q/4
70.Currently, a total of 6595 people have been mobilised to undertake poverty eradication services and 3009 beneficiaries have already been packaged for alternative packages. Botswana has since independence adopted a bottom-up planning process. All National and District Development Plans are a culmination of consultation with the different village and district structures (Village Development Committees, District Development Committees, including elected members).
71.Government structures at all levels (national, district, village) are mandated to consult communities on all decisions that are likely to impact on their lives. Political representatives are also charged with that responsibility by the people they represent.
Marriage and family relations
Reply to paragraph 21 of the list of issues CEDAW/C/BWA/Q/4
72.Response to be provided at the Review in March 2019.
Reply to paragraph 22 of the list of issues CEDAW/C/BWA/Q/4
73.Response to be provided at the Review in March 2019.
Amendment to article 20 (1) of the Convention
Reply to paragraph 23 of the list of issues CEDAW/C/BWA/Q/4
74.Regarding the acceptance of the amendment to Article 20 (1) of the Convention concerning the meeting time of the Committee, consultations are ongoing.