The struggle for gender equality in Uganda has, over time, lost steam and significant reversals have been witnessed in some areas.
Economic and health empowerment has been especially problematic. Although 81% of women labour force is in agriculture, only 7% of women own or control land! Access to small loans (microfinance) at exorbitant interest rates have served to worsen women’s economic situation.
The collapse of the health delivery system has very adversely affected women. Women dying in childbirth have increased from 16 to 19 daily over the last 5 years.
This year’s theme for the International Women’s Day is PLEGDE FOR PARITY. We’ve just concluded an election campaign in which we made wide-ranging pledges aimed at rapidly empowering our women and bridging the gender gap.
The rights of Ugandan women are non-negotiable! Among others, our girls and women are entitled to quality education in a safe and friendly environment; our women are entitled to quality health care, including reproductive health care; our women are entitled to own/control the land in their homes and our women are entitled to protection against sexual violence.
Our campaign manifesto was actually a pledge for parity! That’s why we’re determined to jealously defend the mandate that was given to us through the vote.
Together, we shall get the CHANGE our country needs and deserves.
I wish all Ugandans a happy International Women’s Day!
Message by Kizza Besigye