Theoretical Discussion of Gender and Power: The Case of the University of Botswana

Theoretical Discussion of Gender and Power: The Case of the University of Botswana

Nonofo Losike-Sedimo (University of Botswana, Botswana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8321-1.ch008
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Abstract

This chapter presents gender disparities found in the faculty of education at the time of this study. These are discussed from a theoretical point of view. The author takes a view that gender mainstreaming is a contested concept, practiced in various ways by governments, institutions and departments. Although practice varies, the aim is to eradicate gender inequality completely. This implies that any workplace that intends to support gender equity must also support multiculturalism. If multiculturalism is practiced in an institution or organization, the organizational culture will provide a leeway for gender diversity. The objective of this chapter is to compare the institutional culture to the societal culture of the University of Botswana. Gender mainstreaming practices at UB are analyzed. The chapter describes observed gender disparities, possible solutions and suggestions for what seems to work for the future. It also explains gender discrimination as rooted in both organizational and societal culture.
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Background

The chapter presents a theoretical discussion of Gender mainstreaming as a process that encapsulates many of the tensions and dilemmas in feminist theory and practice. The presentation is based on a view that conceptualizes mainstreaming as a theoretical element that provides debates on how to move theory and practice of gender equality. (Behning & Pascual 2001; Lombardo, Meier, & Verloo, 2007; Walby 2001; Woodward, 2003).Botswana is a signatory to many accords and as such she is responsible to them and must meet assignments suggested by such assemblies. The University of Botswana’s efforts to promote gender equity and equality are highly visible and this has been achieved through the establishment of structures such the Gender Policy and Programme Committee (GPPC) in 1992 that has been established primarily to oversee the implementation of its gender policy.

This is in line with the theoretical concepts of mainstreaming. Conceptually, mainstreaming as a gender perspective is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programs, in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women's as well as men's concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs. The process has to cut across all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal of mainstreaming is to achieve equality. And the GPPC attempts to achieve this goal.

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