Exploring gender inequality in management within the textile and clothing industry of Botswana
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The textile and clothing (TC) industry is one of the oldest and largest export industries in many countries including Botswana. Botswana established the textile and clothing (TC) industry during the period 1980-90 and the sector expanded rapidly as a result of the trade and preferences available to it under the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) agreement, the Cotonou Agreement and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The textile and clothing industry is a huge generator of revenue and one of the biggest employers, especially of women. Employees in the textile and clothing industries to have low skill levels, low levels of education and thus earn low wages. Gender inequality is a worldwide problem. Countries are trying by all means to improve gender equality in the workplace but there is little progress. Women are still under represented in the upper management positions. Under the textile and clothing industry, they are hired mostly as low-skilled labourers in most of the countries such as Botswana. The main aim of this study was to explore gender inequality in the textile and clothing industry of Botswana; to review literature on gender inequality in the workplace; to determine the demographic representation of females and males in the textile and clothing industry of Botswana; to identify criteria used to hire employees; to identify barriers for women to be promoted and or hired in management positions, and to determine the effects of gender inequality in the production and or performance of the textile and clothing industry. The study used the quantitative and qualitative methods. Primary and secondary data were utilised in this study. The secondary data included a literature review and the companies’ personnel files. The researcher collected first hand data by the administration of a semi-structured questionnaire. Non-probability (convenience sampling) and probability sampling techniques (simple random sampling) were adopted for this study. In total 47 participants from the textile and clothing industry, (17 management team members and 30 low-skilled labourers), participated from eight (8) selected companies in Gaborone, out of 84 targeted sample group from 12 Companies. The quantitative data was analysed using the descriptive statistics, namely, frequencies and percentages. The data was illustrated using tables, pie charts and graphs. Analysis of the qualitative data was carried out on the written response from the open-ended questions in the questionnaires. The responses were coded to make the data actionable. The data was also illustrated using tables and graphs. The key finding of this research is that gender inequality does exist in the textile and clothing industry. More females are hired as low-skilled labourers compared to their male counterparts. Notably, males occupy more of the high rank positions than females in the textile and clothing industry. Females mostly occupy the administration positions such as Human Resources Manager and not the hard core managerial positions of production. The findings from the low-skilled labourers and management team participants from the textile and clothing industry reflect that there are more females (87 %) than males (13%) hired in the textile and clothing industry of Botswana. The majority of the female participants were from the low-skilled labourer category while the vast numbers of the male participants were in the management team participants. Furthermore, the study revealed that the majority of the participants from the management team in the management positions are males (76.5%) and few females (23.5%). It has been revealed that the reasons the textile and clothing industry prefer to hire more females compared to males under low-skilled labourer category is because; females are loyal; committed to work; always meet their targets; forthcoming to look for a job in the textile and clothing industry than their male counterparts; not difficult to supervise or work with, and do not disappear from work compared to their male counterparts. The study discovered that there are obstacles for women to be promoted and/ or hired to management positions. From the findings of the study, the barriers for women to be promoted and/ or hired to management positions are said to be; low qualification, maternity leave, continuous sick leave and not forthcoming to apply for management positions. Furthermore, literature revealed the barriers for women to be hired and/ or promoted to management positions as gendered role expectations, cultural and stereotypical attitudes, family responsibility which contributes to the low representation of women in the positions of power and decision-making and lack of women in senior positions. The researcher made recommendations and suggestions for further research.