Mrs. Jovent Obbo, a Representative Western Region, of Forum for African Women Educationalists Uganda [FAWE] has rejected 2016 female presidential candidate, Maureen Faith Kyalya’s description of women in power as dummies.
FAWE is a pan-African Non-Governmental Organisation formed in 1993 and registered in Nairobi, Kenya; FAWE Uganda Chapter (FAWEU) was established in 1997.
“Maureen Kyalya calling women in power “dummies” was a sweeping statement,” Obbo noted while appearing on NBS TV on Monday.
During the January 15, 2016 televised presidential debate, Kyalya said women in power were used as mere dummies and had no real influence.
A dummy is a model or replica of a human being; something designed to resemble and serve as a substitute for the real or usual thing; a counterfeit or sham.
Kyalya cited the example of Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, saying she had not actual power to make independent decisions and had even failed to nature young women.
She concluded that President Yoweri Museveni who boasts of having empowered women and uplifted their statuses, was actually appointing them to high offices only to be used as “toys”.
“We have some powerful women who hold sway,” Obbo disagrees, although she never cited which women those were.
Obbo however acknowledged that much as women have achieved in a number of ways, there is less gender parity.
She said few still women contest for directly elected seats.
“If female MPs were keen on issues affecting women, we would never have lost out on the marriage and divorce bill among others,” she lamented.
Obbo says current crop of women parliamentarians, unlike the Byanyima group, [Winnie former Mbarara Municipality MP and wife to opposition leader Kizza Besigye] are not as focused on issues affecting women.
“Going back to electoral colleges without rethinking would still mean that men will vote for the woman they deem appealing.”
On health, Obbo said health workers’ attitude also contributes to the high maternal mortality rate, even when the facilities exist.
“Not getting enough pay shouldn’t justify rudeness. We are all not paid “enough” but we don’t bark or mistreat people.”
She said in countries like China, emphasis is not on academic excellence but on quality basic education and then kids later make decision.
“Cultural beliefs and norms need to be modified to allow women to explore more options. Culture is not God-made but shaped by us.”
Uganda has one of the most gender-sensitive constitutions in the world, she revealed.
“However, we need to ensure that laws are implemented. There is evidence that we have moved. There was a time when no women NGOs existed. But there’s much more we can achieve.”