Botswana: According to the International Women’s Day 2023 website, the day is observed annually on March 8 to celebrate the global “social, cultural, political, and economic achievements of women as well as also calling for action to advance gender equality.
It calls for every citizen of the world to think about, know, value and embrace equity to create an inclusive world, not only on the day of commemoration but beyond. Botswana Prison Service put on another special occasion as Commissioner Dinah Marathe led a team of Officers and Prisoners to commemorate International Women’s Day in style.
As the first female Commissioner of the Botswana Prison Service, one of her responsibilities is to provide guidance and mentorship to Officers, as well as ensure safe custodial care, rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners, including women.
“My gratitude goes to God for showcasing the strength of a woman through me. I am equally thankful to my Government for trusting our strengths as women and, according to us, opportunities to play leadership roles in the many different areas that are female-led in this country,” she said.
Celebrated under the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” Commissioner Marathe said the day emphasises the role of innovative technology in promoting gender equality while at the same time calling on the world to explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities.
She highlighted that the theme resonates well with the Botswana Government Priority Areas, particularly, Priority 2, which calls on the nation to leverage Digitalisation for timely and efficient Service to Batswana.
She said as the Service is advancing efforts in promoting participation in the digital space, the prisoners are not left behind. The introduction of information technology skills was piloted at Moshupa Boys Prison and already graduated more than 80 prisoners. ‘This year, we will be rolling out the programme to Gaborone Women Prison so that our sisters are not left behind.’ She said it is imperative to skill prisoners in this area so that their reintegration into the already tech-savvy society is smooth.
Commissioner Marathe pointed out that the Service has made strides in creating equal opportunities for both female and male officers, with 50% of the current Prison Service Executive Management team being women, while 35% of the Senior Management team are women. “It may seem not enough, but it is worth celebrating considering where we come from,” she said.
The Commissioner further applauded the male Officers who are equal to the task of embracing gender issues. She encouraged them to keep up the good work and join hands in ensuring that women & girls are safe online.
“This will free them from online gender-based violence, which includes cyberstalking, cyberbullying, trafficking, sexual harassment, and gross breaches of privacy. As we commemorate International Women’s Day, I urge all to support country-driven and gender-sensitive approaches to close the existing digital gender divide,” she advised.
The well-orchestrated event, full of song and dance and motivational and wellness talks, also saw the Commissioner share a cake designed and baked by female prisoners at Gaborone Women’s Prison.