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