On the 8th March 2013, Barclays Bank of Botswana joined the world in commemorating Women International Day. Every year, the bank employees partake in this special day in recognition of the good work done by women in the various localities of Botswana.
As part of the commemoration, the bank hosted a public debate featuring women who have gone an extra mile to make a difference in the Botswana women movement. Speaking at the event, Barclays Bank Human Resources Director, Richard Malikongwa said Barclays recognises the role played by women in our country. He said; "at Barclays we have treasured our women-folks, they are the pillar of our bank, a fair amount of women in our bank are in the leadership positions. Majority of employees at Barclays are women and we continue to accord them the respect they deserve."
Catherine Letegele-Letebele, CEO of Botswana Life related the story of how she made it to the top. Catherine is a person with disability, she told the audience that she grew up in this condition after suffering polio at a very young age. Her touching testimony is made painful by the fact that the society was always more focused on the fact that she is disabled and pre-judged her ability to do things like normal human beings. Through perseverance and family support, she fought her way up and landed herself in the CEO position.
"It is still tough, challenging but I manage with determination. In the male dominated insurance business, I sometimes find myself alone among my male counterparts, I have to consistently show that I am equally empowered to make decisions, ague and defend what I believe is a good point," she asserted.
Pinkie Setlalekgosi is the founder and director of Sprint Couriers. She started from humble beginnings, from a hotel receptionist to a powerful business woman who admits she works 24/7 to make her business what it is now. She has not only dominated the courier business in Botswana, but has also opened offices in the Southern African region.
Pinkie is a woman who hardly minces her words, she told the audience that her upbringing is the reason for her success. Pinkie is an off shoot of a very strong family structure which she said is known for hard work. "My mother taught me that if you sleep, you will not make it in life. In this business, I get calls at odd hours and I have to wake up and move. Being a hard worker, I expect my staff to follow suit, and I make it clear to my workers that its either they invest their time and energy in the business or they are out. I respect my customer because they are the reason I am in business and for me this is the secret behind any successful business," she shared.
In recapping the discussion Kebabonye Ntsabane, Gender Links Botswana Country Coordinator gave insights and accounts of sad stories happening to women every day in Botswana. She further shared the role played by Gender Links and the NGO community in influencing policy changes and partnering with critical stakeholders to bring issues affecting women to the fore.