As the month of women begins the country has been plagued with unimaginable atrocities towards this fairer sex. With both cultural and western culture never running short of idioms to compliment these mothers, sisters, nieces and daughters it all comes as a surprise that they be exposed to such unutterable violence, especially in a country that prides itself on peace and tranquility.
Traditionally women are known to be the care givers of the society, the ones whose responsibility is to toil under the hot sun cultivating the staples of the community, with FAO statistics showing that over 50% of the world’s food is their produce. They (FAO) also continue to state that women are responsible for 60-80% of the world’s agricultural labour. Such statistics are evidence of the important role women play in food security, their empowerment and protection is therefore a necessity for a food secure Botswana to be realized. This can be realized by empowering the girl child with the confidence to know that she is equal to the boy child and hence she need not dim her dreams of the possibilities of a life as a strong informed independent woman.
In 2012, Mariana L Chilton carried out a study that linked low food security and violence in female headed households, the study went to prove that indeed exposure to violence had a negative impact in a household’s food security status. This begs one to wonder if our food security status as a country is a reflection of how we treat our women.
Focus needs to be concentrated in areas which promote safety and progress of women, agriculture being at the forefront. That coupled with subsidies that will allow access to credit for farm improvements and access to land rights in matters of inheritance, traditionally women are oppressed in such matters even though they are the ones who put in most of the work in their husbands and father’s ploughing fields. The boy child needs to be raised in a setup that grooms him to protect his sisters and alongside that, respect them. Organisations like MenEngage whose mandates are the implementation of gender transformative interventions where both men and boys take action in ending violence against women and children should be promoted. That being said a nation of happy women, will lead to a plenteous dinner table, let’s put smiles on our women’s faces and see the high food import bill ebb from sky high proportions.