Gender Equality in Botswana

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Flag of Botswana
Population (in Mil.) 2.00
Gross Domestic Product (In USD Billions - WB) 14.54
Sex Ratio (m/f) 1.02
Life Expectancy Ratio (f/m) 0.978723404
Fertility Rate 2.5
Estimated Earned Income (f/m) 0.47
Tertiary Enrolment Ratio (f/m) 7.4
Women in Parliament (in %) 7.9
Human Development Index 119/187
Social Institutions and Gender Index /86
Gender Inequality Index 119/186
Gender Equity Index 45/168
Women’s Economic Opportunity Index 77/128
Global Gender Gap Index /68
More information on variables

Social Institutions

The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) measures gender-based discrimination in social norms, practices and laws across 160 countries. The SIGI comprises country profiles, a classification of countries and a database; it serves as a research, policy and advocacy tool for the development community and policy makers.

The SIGI covers five dimensions of discriminatory social institutions, spanning major socio-economic areas that affect women’s lives: discriminatory family code, restricted physical integrity, son bias, restricted resources and assets, and restricted civil liberties. The SIGI’s variables quantify discriminatory social institutions such as unequal inheritance rights, early marriage, violence against women, and unequal land and property rights.

In the 2014 edition of the SIGI, Botswana was not classified in the SIGI due to lack of full dataset. It has lower discrimination in restricted physical integrity and higher discrimination in restricted civil liberties. Read the full country profile and access the data here:


See Also

Women and African Economic Development

The Africa for Women's Rights Campaign


Key facts

  • CEDAW: ratified in 1996
  • CEDAW Protocol: ratified in 2007
  • Maputo Protocol: not signed

The Campaign

On 8 March 2009 the "Africa for Women's Rights" Campaign was launched at the initiative of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in collaboration with fove non-governmental regional organisations: the African Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies(ACDHRS), Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF) and Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA). These organisations make up the Steering Committee responsible for the coordination of the Campaign.

The Campaign aims to put an end to discrimination and violence against women in Africa, calling on states to ratify international and regional instruments protecting women's rights, to repeal all discriminatory laws, to adopt laws protecting the rights of women and to take all necessary measures to wensure their effective implementation.

Country Focus: Botswana

While Botswana has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol, Botswana has so far failed to ratify – or even sign – the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).

The Coalition of the Campaign is particularly concerned about the following continued violations of women’s human rights in Botswana: application of discriminatory customary laws; access to property; violence against women; access to decision-making positions; access to employment and health services; and the persistence of discriminatory stereotypes and patriarchal attitudes.

Read more


The Women, Business and the Law

Where are laws equal for men and women?  

The Women, Business and the Law report presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women's prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women's economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.

For detailed information on Botswana, please visit the Women, Business and
the Law Botswana


The FAO Gender and Land Rights Database

FAO logo.jpg

The FAO Gender and Land Rights Database contains country level information on social, economic, political and cultural issues related to the gender inequalities embedded in those rights. Disparity on land access is one of the major causes for social and gender inequalities in rural areas, and it jeopardizes, as a consequence, rural food security as well as the wellbeing of individuals and families.

Six categories

The Database offers information on the 6 following Categories:

  • National legal frame
  • International treaties and conventions
  • Customary law 
  • Land tenure and related Institutions
  • Civil society organizations
  • Selected Land Related Statistics

For detailed information on Botswana, please visit the report on Botswana in the FAO Gender and Land Rights Database.


Progress Assessment of MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

Millennium Development Goal #3 is divided into three sub-categories, each of them focusing on different areas: education, employment wage and political power.

Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education

Botswana has made good progress towards gender equality. Parity has virtually been achieved in primary and secondary education [1] According to the UNDP and Botswana's governement 2010 report, the difference in primary school enrolment for boys and girls reflects the sex ratio at birth rather than differential access to education. The enrolment ratios are reversed at the secondary school level, where more girls are enrolled than boys owing to higher progression rates for the former. For instance in 2009, girls accounted for 48.8% of primary school enrolment and 51.9% of secondary school enrolment. Overall, the statistics suggest parity in access to primary and secondary education for boys and girls."(id. 32)

Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector

The proportion of women in paid employment is lower than that for men. For instance, the share of women in wage employment in the nonagricultural sector was estimated at 43.4% in 2007 and 41.2% in 2008 (CSO, 2009). Notwithstanding this, the proportion of women in the workforce has grown rapidly. A key concern however, is that women dominate the relatively low paying occupations such as hotels and restaurants (74.3%); private households (71.4%) and retail. In the professions requiring higher skill levels, women dominate the education, finance, and health sectors, mostly at the lower end.[2].

Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament

In 2007, 11.1% of seats at the national Parliament were held by women [3] down 18% in the 1994-1999 Parliament[4]. Government policy and legislation have also evolved positively in support of women’s empowerment. In this regard, the most significant legislative reform is the abolition of the Marital Power Act of 2004. The original act had effectively made wives minors in deference to their husbands.


  1. MDG Assessment. UNDP.2010.
  2. MDG Assessment. UNDP.2010.]
  3. MDG Monitor. Botswana
  4. MDG Assessment. UNDP.2010.

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