Strategies to Ensure that No Motswana Female Leader “Starts from Behind” by Giving Young Batswana Girls a Head Start at Primary Schools

By Mpho Pheko.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp.569-582. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.294MB).

Mpho Pheko

Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana

I hold a Masters of Arts in Industrial-Organisational Psychology from Alliant International University, USA. Prior to completing a Masters Degree, I completed a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Psychology from Barry University in Miami, USA. I am currently employed by the University of Botswana as a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology. Prior to working for the University of Botswana, I worked as a Business Consultant with EOH Consulting where I consulted on projects like Business Performance Improvement, Culture Audit, Organisational Design and Development, and Information Management Due Diligence Studies for many companies in Botswana. I am currently a lead investigator on a research study that seeks to investigate the University of Botswana students’ attitudes towards seeking psychological help. I have also written, presented and published a conference paper on Making Women Empowerment a National Agenda: Botswana Case Study, to an international conference on “Leadership in a Changing Landscape” in Malaysia (co-authored with M. Selemogwe) after conducting desk research and interviews. I was also a paper reviewer for the Leadership in a Changing Landscape Conference.

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