A SUMMARY OF RESILIENCY DURING COVID-19: ANALYZING WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS IN BOTSWANA TO IDENTIFY SUPPORTIVE POLICIES THAT PROTECT WOMEN AGAINST PANDEMICS’ NEGATIVE NUTRITIONAL AND FINANCIAL EFFECTS
The onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has been disproportionally destructive to women entrepreneurs across the globe. Botswana, an Upper Middle-Income nation with relatively high women business ownership rates, saw inequitable losses due to pandemic lockdowns. Despite Botswana’s initiatives to protect their micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises that engage in the market, women-led businesses suffered financial losses and operation closures at a higher rate than that of their male counterparts due to socio-economic and cultural constraints. Women business owners experienced higher rates of business closures and asset losses, and lacked access to credit, subsequently experiencing decreased food security. As a result, the economic losses from COVID-19, which were suffered more heavily by women, exasperated family malnutrition and diminished gender equity in Botswana. This paper summarizes Botswana’s COVID-19 experiences through the lens of gender inequality and follows with policy recommendations on how to better protect women business owners from future economic downturns through capacity building projects, and programs. This report ultimately suggests policies such as assisting women’s engagement and participation in male- dominated workspaces, improved international gender equity programs, enhancing women’s access to technology and bank accounts, and the prioritization of household food security to better protect women business owners during future economic shocks such as pandemic lockdowns or recessions.
Tufan, Hale Ann
Master of Professional Studies