Advocating for women’s rights equals advocating for the nation’s well-being.

Botswana is a country where women did not have the right to do many things in society, but there has been a recent victory. Now married women can own land and have equal opportunities to participate in the country’s economic, social, cultural and political development. This is a result of several Conventions and the work of activists and law advocates in Botswana. The advocacy for human rights is active, and gradually, Botswana is drawing near to attaining great gender equality and clearing out violence against women.

Women now occupy positions in the political sphere, and Ms Athaliah Molokomme is one woman to pay attention to. She is the first female Attorney General of Botswana, and she makes sure to use her position to continue in her advocacy for women’s rights.

The Lawyer

“I think those of us that have the opportunity and privilege to study law have a special responsibility to make sure that law does what it is meant to do, and that is to deliver justice because it doesn’t always [on its own].”…Athaliah Molokomme

Coming from a humble background, Ms Athaliah was not limited in accessing excellent education, which helped her gain great values. Her eagerness to learn started at the age of three, and later she went on to study in a primary school at Tchangati, Sebina and Mathangwane. Later on, she went for her secondary education in 1970 at St. Joseph’s College Kgale and her Bachelor degree in Law from the University of Botswana and Swaziland, Masters in Law from Yale Law School and a PhD in Law from Leiden University.

After her educational years, she went back to teach law at the University of Botswana. She has embarked on significant research on topics bothering on employment law, women in law, customary law and family law. She did all this to study how the law can be modified to accommodate the needs of women.

Advancing in advocacy

In 1993, Dr Molokomme’s works earned her the Women’s Human Rights Award, in 1998, she became the founding head of the Gender Unit at the Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community and in 2003, she was appointed as the Judge of the Botswana High Court. In 2005, she was appointed as Botswana’s First female attorney General.

She was reputed for upholding a fair and strong system. Dr Molokomme is now the ambassador and permanent representative of Botswana to Swaziland. She makes sure to advocate for women and the membership of African Nations wherever she finds herself. She is also a permanent representative of Botswana to the UN and other organisations in Geneva.

The politician

Dr Molokomme has also been involved in the political sphere in her career, like being the Principal Legal Advisor to the government. She also served as a CIO member of the Botswana Cabinet, and she represented the Government on several Boards and committees. She also participates in Negotiations and party events.

Advocating for women

Dr Molokomme has dedicated her work to advocating for women, and she has been noted to be a founding member of organisations of Emang Basadi, Women and Law in Southern Africa (WSLA) and Women, Law and Development International (WLDI). She has previously advised on gender issues, and she has also worked to empower women by developing favourable policies and fighting gender mainstreaming. When she was a judge at the high court, she presided over civil and criminal cases. She never stops speaking about gender issues and many other topics she is passionate about at conferences and seminars worldwide.

When women reach a place of power, they make sure to represent their fellow women who still don’t have access to the opportunity to go high on the societal ladder. Dr Athaliah Molokomme is constantly working on advocating for women using her position. The improvement in Botswana is excellent news which lets us know that the impact of activists like her is finally showing.

Written By: Joyce C. Nwezeh Obi-Akejelu (Writer, Social media manager and graphic designer with Africa4AfricaWomen/Assert/PAWES).


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