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Botswana held its General elections on 23 October 2019. These include both the Parliamentary and the Local Government elections. Botswana, since independence has been using the First-past-the-post electoral system; where the winner needs a simple majority to win the election. Fifty-seven Constituencies will be contested for in October 2019 as well as 490 Local Government seats. Though some women have indicated their desire to contest these elections, the number will be confirmed after 26 September 2019 when nomination for national and local government will be done.
The electoral system used in Botswana; first-past the post electoral system has not worked for the marginalised groups including women; the country does not have a quota set for women’s representation in the National Assembly and Local Government. This is left to the will of different political parties. Even within these parties, intra-party processes do not make it easy for women to contest for candidacy.
There are different barriers that hinder women’s political participation in Botswana; these are structural, financial and social among others. There have been efforts that have been made by Civil Society organisations over the years to increase women’s political participation; these were led by organisations such as Emang Basadi, Letsema and Gender Links. Actions include training of aspiring women candidates, advocacy on the need to have female representation in the political and decision making positions as well as sensitising the public on the need to have representation at the political level that include the different population in the country.
Through the EU support, Gender Links Botswana trained aspiring women candidates, held Kgotla meetings to sensitise the public on why it is important to vote for women and held media awareness training on gender sensitivity.