Strategies to Ensure That No Motswana Female Leader “Starts from Behind” by Giving Young Batswana Girls a Head Start at Primary Schools

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Although women have gained increased access to supervisory and middle management positions, research indicates that leadership still remains a male prerogative as women leaders and top executives continue to be a rarity (Eagly and Karau, 2002). To address the challenge of this leadership gap, the Botswana government established a Women’s Affairs Department. While such initiatives have produced significant gains because more women are now represented in organizations, women still report challenges in accessing and working in managerial and leadership positions. Factors such as work/life/family conflicts, discrimination and prejudice, glass-ceiling, experience, age, child bearing, and culture have been identified as potential contributors to the disparity. This necessitates for researchers to identify strategies to minimize the effect of such factors on women’s career advancement. Borrowing from the Setswana saying “Lore lo ojwa lo sale metsi” Translation: “it is easier to mold a human being when she/he is still young”; and the suggestion that women may be subjected to incompatible expectations from the managerial and female roles, this paper will focus primarily on strategies for ensuring that the Setswana culture, particularly role conflict does not inhibit women’s career advancement. It will also recommend strategies for equipping young girls with projected future leadership competencies. The strategies recommended will also address factors that affect gender typing (i.e. schools and teachers, parents, and the media).


Keywords: Gender Disparity, Competencies, Culture, Role Congruity, Role Identity, Gender Typing
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Strategies to Ensure that No Motswana Female Leader “Starts from Behind” by Giving Young Batswana Girls a Head Start at Primary Schools,


Mpho Pheko

Lecturer, Department of Psychology
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Botswana

Gaborone, Botswana

I hold a Masters of Arts in Industrial-Organisational Psychology from Alliant International University, USA. Prior to completing a Masters Degree, I completed a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Psychology from Barry University in Miami, USA. I am currently employed by the University of Botswana as a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology. Prior to working for the University of Botswana, I worked as a Business Consultant with EOH Consulting where I consulted on projects like Business Performance Improvement, Culture Audit, Organisational Design and Development, and Information Management Due Diligence Studies for many companies in Botswana. I am currently a lead investigator on a research study that seeks to investigate the University of Botswana students’ attitudes towards seeking psychological help. I have also written, presented and published a conference paper on Making Women Empowerment a National Agenda: Botswana Case Study, to an international conference on “Leadership in a Changing Landscape” in Malaysia (co-authored with M. Selemogwe) after conducting desk research and interviews. I was also a paper reviewer for the Leadership in a Changing Landscape Conference

Ref: L09P0958