It has traditionally been a challenge for Batswana women to make a breakthrough in leadership positions, an archaic anomaly The African Woman Leadership Academy (TAWLA) are working hard to change.
TAWLA was created with a mandate to create a community of responsible, confident, independent and self assured girls, with the potential to become future leaders.
Over the weekend the organisation held their networking program, bringing together young women, including those in leadership positions, to share their experience and success stories.
In her opening remarks, TAWLA’s founder Dr Mpho Gilika explained that whilst the orgainisation was initially set up to train young women, some of their programmes now include the boy child.
Highlighting this point, Gilika revealed that both males and females graduated from the last two mentoring programmes.
Explaining what happens in the programmes, she said, “We focus on character and confidence building, self esteem enhancement, leadership training skills, entrepreneurship, HIV/AIDS, alcohol abuse among others.
“In Botswana and other countries many of our students struggle with obstacles in their personal lives which directly affects their education. Girls’ empowerment is a safe space for girls to learn while reflecting on their personal experiences. Through this, girls are able to develop their confidence, which enables them to make the right decisions in their lives.”
Another speaker on the day, Magdalene Madibela of UN Women, said the programme’s mandate is in line with her organisation’s aim to fight for gender equality and women empowerment.
She highlighted that women continue to suffer ‘extreme discrimination and marginalisation’ as a result of gender inequality.
“That has to change at least in your generation because women contribute more than 60% within the labour force yet we benefit little. In education we find gaps in science and technology for girls. It is dominated by boys and girls are in Humanities and Social Sciences and this needs to be addressed. Knowledge sharing is important and mentorship has the potential to demystify patriarchy,” mused Madibela.