Although women have gained increased access to supervisory and middle management positions, research indicates that leadership still remains a male prerogative as women leaders and top executives continue to be a rarity (Eagly and Karau, 2002). To address the challenge of this leadership gap, the Botswana government established a Women’s Affairs Department, reviewed laws affecting women and introduced gender mainstreaming strategies. While such initiatives have produced significant gains because more women are now represented in organizations, women still report challenges in accessing and working in managerial and leadership positions. Factors such as work/life/family conflicts, discrimination and prejudice, glass-ceiling, experience, age, child bearing, and culture have been identified as potential contributors to the disparity. This necessitates for researchers to identify strategies to minimize the effect of such factors on women’s career advancement. Borrowing from the Setswana saying “Lore lo ojwa lo sale metsi” Translation: “it is easier to mold a human being whilst she/he is still young”; this paper uses Bandura’s Social Learning Theory (SLT) /Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) as a conceptual framework and recommends the use of leadership competency models in primary schools as a strategy for equipping young girls with projected future leadership competencies. Leadership competency development is recommended at primary schools because during middle childhood, exposure to gender role may lead to a stable gender identity, which may later subject female leaders to perceptions or experience of gender role incongruity.
|Keywords:||Gender Disparity, Competencies, Culture, Role Congruity, Role Identity, Gender Typing|
Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
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