Journos drilled on women in politics media coverage

Portia Mlilo

Democracy Works Foundation (DWF) in conjunction with Botswana Editors Forum Botswana recently held a two-day workshop to train journalists on how media can play a supportive role in advancing meaningful participation of women in politics.

Currently DWF is implementing a year-long program in Botswana geared towards the advancement and development of women in politics.

Last week’s training was meant to equip and capacitate journalists with information on gender such that they can take up a social transformation role through stories that unpack social ills that affect women political participation.

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Speaking to the Voice DWF Country Director Ntlogeleng Modise said the purpose of training is to ensure that the media mobilise citizens to take progressive action towards active women political participation.

Modise said the media should report on barriers that women in politics face and how such barriers can be shattered.

“In Botswana, women are under-represented in political and decision-making processes that affect their lives. Media should do positive reporting on women in politics, showcasing and profiling the success stories of women leaders in society so that they can motivate aspiring ones. They should also provide a platform that is supportive and promote balanced reporting that elevates the voices of women. The media can change the current negative perception of women in political space by giving them space to speak their minds,” said Modise

One of the presenters, Dr David Mandiyanike highlighted that there is no democracy without gender equality. He said some male politicians demean, ridicule women in politics and the media provides coverage for such. Decrying lack of support for women candidates during elections, Dr Mandiyanike said, “When some women stood for council chairperson position, they were shot down by other women as they considered them inexperienced. Women are their own worst enemies. Women are too submissive and they need to stand up and be strong.”

Following the elections held in 2019 only 7 out of 65 parliamentarians (representing 9.5%) are women. However, of the seven, four came through presidential nomination, meaning only three women managed to secure their seats through elections. It was only in 2004 when Botswana obtained the highest representation of women in Parliament, although this was a meagre 17%. Since 1965, no woman has ever been put forward as a presidential candidate by any of the political parties.

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