GABORONE, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- At least 55 percent of households in Botswana are headed by women, the southern African country's gender affairs minister said Saturday.
Dorcas Makgato, the minister of nationality, immigration and gender affairs, made this revelation in her speech at the sixth edition of the annual Northern Women's Exposition in Francistown, Botswana's second largest city.
The exposition was introduced in 1999 by the Botswana government in recognition of the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in accessing markets.
Through the exposition, with this year's theme of Entrepreneurs Development: Key to Transforming Women's Lives, the government of Botswana is extending support by creating opportunities for women to market and sell their products and services.
"My ministry is aware of the multiple challenges faced by women, which seriously impede their progress in life," said Makgato.
In this regard, Makgato said various sectors have been engaged in an effort to mainstream gender into their policies, programs and projects.
Botswana will for the next 20 years be striving to improve the economic situation of women, which is progressing very slow, she said.
She said empowering women would result in improving the lives of many households in the country and ultimately deal with pockets of poverty.
"It is estimated that 55 percent of households in Botswana are headed by women. The government is now focusing on mainstreaming gender into operations, as it is the only surety to realize gender equality and empowerment of women," she said.
Makgato said Botswana has developed trade related initiatives which enabled the informal sector to undertake business at a lower cost with minimal entry barriers, thereby enabling the sector to generate employment for women.