The First Lady, Janet Kataaha Museveni, has asked Ugandan women to wake up and work hard to eradicate poverty from their homes.
Janet, the minister for Karamoja Affairs, is credited for transforming a region that no one hoped would rise to contribute to Uganda’s economic growth.
The First Lady attributes the rise in poverty levels across the country to laziness among women.
She is quoted by NTV telling women at a Mother’s Union Conference in Ntungamo district, to play their pivotal role in the nation’s development through hard work.
“I want you to you to know that you are the driving force behind development poverty eradication,” she said, speaking in Runyankole.
“It doesn’t mean that a man should be like God to a woman,” she pointed out.
She said a strong woman works hard to sustain her family.
“A real woman makes sure her cows have pasture and enough water, the banana plantation is well looked and she has some money somewhere in the bank.”
“A strong woman should know those things.”
She further urged them to always read the bible, meet and discuss with each other knowing that God is the way.
According to a 2000 IFAD study under the Gender Strengthening Programme for Eastern and Southern Africa, agriculture is the main source of income for rural households in Uganda.
It is also the main occupation of women. Nationwide, 72% of all employed women and 90% of all rural women work in agriculture.
Only 53% of rural men do so. Cash crops include coffee, cotton, sugar cane, sunflower and tobacco.
Dual-purpose crops, such as banana, beans, cassava, fruits, maize and vegetables, are also grown.
Division of labour in Uganda varies by region and farming system.
It can also change over time or in response to market conditions.
However some tasks are almost exclusively undertaken by men, and some by women.
Predominantly male tasks include the felling of trees, ploughing with oxen or tractors, digging holes, the purchase and use of chemicals, looking for markets and the sale of produce.
Women usually undertake sowing, harvesting, head loading of produce, crop-drying, winnowing, seed selection, pig and poultry-rearing and bartering sunflower seeds for oil.
Other tasks, such as weeding, bagging and crop storage, are almost equally undertaken by both women and men.
It is estimated that women do 85% of the planting, 85% of the weeding, 55% of land preparation and 98% of all food processing.
However, decisions to market are usually made by men (70%), or are made jointly (15%).
In rural areas, it is estimated that women’s workloads considerably exceed those of men.