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Home » News » Business » Women close labour gap

Women close labour gap

Publishing Date : 18 September, 2017

Author : AUBREY LUTE

The number of working women has been on the rise for many years. In most member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the proportion of women aged 25 to 54 in the workforce continues to increase.


According to De Beers’ mining insight report, in 1980, this figure stood at 54 per cent, by 2010, it had risen to 71 per cent, albeit with significant differences in the rate of growth between countries. Today, in the US, 69 per cent of Millennial women aged 18 to 33 are in the labour force, compared with 78 per cent of men in the same age group. This is a significant shift from the Baby Boomer generation: in 1963, the participation of men aged 18 to 33 stood at 88 per cent, and women of the same age group at 41 per cent.


Meanwhile the Women in Mining event held at the GICC this week in Gaborone under the theme; Women In Mining Botswana: Addressing the Conceptual Challenges and Seizing Transformation Opportunities, showcased an increased women participation in the workforce especially, mining. The primary target of the conference is to inspire and promote women in the mining industry. This unique women empowerment conference furthermore invites all women looking to make their mark in any male dominated sector or business.


According to Statistics Botswana 2016 Formal Sector Employment Survey, overall employment increased by 0.2 percent (786 persons) from 403 681 persons in September 2015 to 404 387 persons in March 2016. Sharing the statistics at the Mining Conference, Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Edwin Batshu indicated that of the 404 387 employees, 203 146 representing 50.2% were males while 201 242 representing 49.8% were females.


The Mining industry, where the Conference is located, and is trying to push more women numbers, there are 10 439 male employees and 1756 female employees. The Minister acknowledged the gender disparity in the mining industry and said this calls for breaking down of barriers. The Minister said Government has come up with interventions to promote women’s participation in this sector. On a good note though, the narrowing gap in the general labour force participation between men and women is also leading to a corresponding decline in the difference between their earnings. Women’s earnings growth is one direct result of the 21st century’s significant increase in female participation in tertiary education. The percentage of women across the world aged 25 to 64 who have completed higher education rose from 21 per cent in 2000 to 38 per cent in 2015.

The Minister Health and Wellness, Dorcas Makgato observed that women also have increasing power and influence in leadership roles in business and politics. She said female economic independence is bringing about changes in how women influence economies. She observed that Opportunities are there to be taken by a human being. “You are a first a human being and secondly a woman.”


Makgato stressed that one needs to have a clarity of purpose in order to effectively chase after their dream. She encouraged women to refrain from always making excuses as to why they can’t fit in male dominated industries.  She said Women must create time to achieve their goals and it is never too late to start. “To sleep like a king, work like a slave. Naturally women have been blessed with the gift of multitasking and they need to utilize it. Women should build profitable networks in every sector, and define their engagements on social media ensuring that it is meaningful. Every woman should be in charge of her destiny” she said. At 51 years Makgato is already preparing for her retirement.


Speaking at the Women In Mining event, the Director Of Gender Affairs Department Ms Thapelo Phuthego encouraged all attendees to promote gender equality and empower the girl child who most of the time is faced with challenges and societal pressures , challenging all to live up to this year’s international women’s day theme: Be Bold For Change.  She further sighted Zambia economic growth research with states that when women are given the necessary resources the economy grows.


Dr Siza Majola, a Former Mining Executive & Group HR Manager gave a motivational talk by sharing her story on how she began her mining career path in Lobatse as a geologist, a job she admitted did not feel like her calling. Still within the mining industry she later pursued a career in communications and stakeholder engagements. She encouraged women to understand their self-value and bring who they are to the work place, noting that a woman without self-values will never understand her worth.


Research shows that it’s not only the earning power of women that is changing as a result of increased participation in tertiary education. Their role within the home is also evolving as their responsibilities as providers for their families increase. The CEO of the National Development Bank Lorato Morapedi shared the same sentiments. She said women should never aspire to be like man, because they were created as women for a purpose. “Most women allow fear to be a stumbling block before their aspirations,” she said.


Nametso Ntsosa –Carr, WIBA president proudly announced that the conference was organized by a WIBA member, Ms Malebogo Marumoagae.  She called on aspiring entrepreneurs to network, forge lasting partnerships, have mentors and seek assistance in order to begin sparkling in male dominated industries, sighting that women should overcome their fears and boldly pursue their dreams taking advantage of all Government available initiatives.

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