- Says the scourge has exacerbated the poor socio-economic status of women
- Calls gender inclusion at all stages of policy development
- Uses International Women’s Day to call for concerted affirmative action for girls and women
- BSE’s Bolokwe says the bourse acknowledges issues affecting both genders
“Despite women’s significant contribution to economic and social development, they are disproportionately impacted by poverty while their efforts are undermined due to cultural norms and systemic barriers limiting their full participation in leadership and key decision-making processes, including decisions that affect them directly,” Alexander said.
She was speaking at the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) Opening Bell Ceremony that coincided with this year’s International Women’s Day.
The day is used to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements and contributions of women around the world. With the occasion themed “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow,” Alexander noted that the emergence of COVID-19 has exacerbated the poor socio- economic status of women and threatened the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 5 which talks to achieving gender equality and women empowerment. She said this year’s theme comes at a time when the global community is still recovering from a pandemic that has negatively affected the business landscape and threatened the existence of humankind.
“This theme is aimed at recognising and celebrating the contribution of women and girls around the world who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response to build a more sustainable future for all,” Alexander said. “Hence the focus is on highlighting the importance of challenging biases and misconceptions to create a more inclusive and gender- equal world.”
She added that for empowerment of women and girls to be realised through sustainable development, there needs to be more than a commitment to these goals and called for concerted action across all countries and communities.
“Dedicated resources should be provisioned to empower women of all ages and girls as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” she said. “Approaching gender equality as a crosscutting issue in the SDGs requires that gender is included at all stages of policy development, means of implementation, monitoring and accountability.”
Without this approach, she added, the global transformation envisaged by the SDGs will not be achieved. Also speaking at the event, the Head of Product Development at the BSE, Kopano Bolokwe, said the bourse has made efforts in promoting gender equality in the workplace.
“Firstly, the BSE has conceptualised a number of policies to safeguard and promote gender balance such as the Sexual Harassment Policy and the Remuneration Policy which advocates for equal benefits, as well as the Maternity/Paternity Leave Policy that ensures paid salary during pregnancy for female employees,” Bolokwe said. “Further, the BSE has ensured that 50 percent of its senior management positions are occupied by women while 60 percent of women make up the entire staff complement.”
He noted that the BSE recognises special occasions and international days set aside to acknowledge issues affecting both genders. These considerations will continue to be a part of the BSE culture because it aims to include women on its journey towards a building an excellent securities exchange, he added.