Batswana women’s share of employment in managerial positions in the tourism industry remains very low despite the fact that women are actively involved in the sector. Only a few reach managerial positions while majority occupy the lower end of the structures within the sector across the country.
Addressing Maun Senior School Tourism and Hospitality students in an empowerment session during the World Tourism day commemoration, Bokani Mathape the founder and President of a Non-Governmental Organisation Women in Tourism noted that women have to take up their rightful position in the management positions in the sector.
Some of the reasons attributing to lower number of women in the sector are among them biological determinations and social misconceptions.
This is said to have disadvantaged women and the empowerment they would have received to occupy positions of decision-making in the sector, as they were mainly considered for jobs of waitressing and housekeeping.
Bokani said women often settle for these jobs and lower positions because they would have lacked the self-confidence.
She noted that in order to address the situation, Women in Tourism decided to commemorate the day with the grass roots being the Tourism and Hospitality students in order to build confidence so that they aim for higher positions upon completion of their studies.
“We believe female students in the tourism industry need motivational talks to help them aim higher and this empowerment session is doing just what we need,” Bokani said.
Meanwhile Bokani has also express at the erosion of cultural tourism in Botswana, adding that the country has seen a tremendous growth in its tourism industry since its real
inception in the 1980s. Unfortunately she said the tourism sector has almost solely focused
on wildlife based tourism at the expense of cultural tourism.
“Women in rural areas can use cultural tourism for their economic benefit for rural development through effective cultural tourism and also use it as a tool for cultural preservation,” she said.
One of the Form 5 Tourism and Hospitality students, Bokamoso Dihedile has appreciated the session adding that it has positively changed her view of the tourism and hospitality career.
“I see myself owning a Mobile Safari company in ten years, before this session I only aspired to be a Chef in a mobile safari company but now my ambitions have change,” she said.
The student further noted that as she is from Shorobe village where there is abundance of palm used for basketry, she will also venture into cultural tourism as soon as she completes her form five this year while waiting to start her tertiary education.
She has since advised other female students to also aim higher and for higher positions and also strive to see themselves as employers not employees.