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Empowerment through Inclusion: The Case of Women in the Discourses of Advertising in Botswana

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Success in the fight against HIV/AIDS is related to the degree to which women are acknowledged as and indeed become active stakeholders in the negotiation process of sex relations. As part of that awareness, advertisement campaigns in Botswana attempt to make room for the participation of women in the fight against HIV/AIDS by including women's voices in the discourse around sex as significant actors in negotiation processes of sex and condoms. Using a critical approach, this paper deconstructs notions of equity and assumptions of empowerment in order to expose the limits of the discourse of inclusion of women in public. Advertisements campaigns that seek to empower women in Botswana, while a useful beginning, are examined for the ways they perpetuate cultural attitudes and stereotypes as well as maintain male hegemony. In addition, the paper suggests that the discourse of women's empowerment and inclusion in sexual negotiations cannot be isolated from the socio-cultural, economic and psychological contexts of women.

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