Journal of Social Development in Africa

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Women's social status and social justice in contemporary Tswana society

Nthabiseng A Phaladze, Barbara N Ngwenya


This article explored the sociocultural traditions and legal practices that have contributed to the low status of women in contemporary Tswana society, presenting a state-of-the art literature review of the customary law and marriage act statutes and their adverse impact on the status of women in Botswana. There is evidence of “legally-induced poverty” which is entrenched in the country's statutes, development policies, programmes and everyday sociocultural practices. Ethnographic methods, desk research and a review of literature from primary and secondary sources were used to gather data. The research revealed that certain provisions of the statutory laws continue to discriminate against women, adversely impact on their life chances and contravene their human rights. The quest for social justice and gender equality in Botswana has implications for a social policy that must override any practices that humiliate or seek to discriminate against women.

Key Words: Botswana, common law, customary law, discrimination, gender, social justice

Jnl of Social Development in Africa Vol.19(1) 2004: 129-150
AJOL African Journals Online