We the women of the Forum for Democratic Change Party, gathered here today, join the world, Africa and Uganda in particular on this 8th day of March to celebrate International Women’s Day.
The international theme- Gender Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow is ripe for implementation by all policy makers at different levels and organisations from grassroots to international level.
Gender Equality is the only way a sustainable tomorrow can be ensured because investing in women, increases opportunities for success in any enterprise.
Indeed, we as women of Uganda state that government has fallen short the gender equality is far from being achieved.
Structural injustices which have continued to disadvantage women still exist and are for lack of a better word, promote by Government. The escalating prices of Fuel, and therefore food and commodities is the most unfortunate phenomenon today as we celebrate women day. For two months now, there has been a spike in the general prices of commodities With soap going from 3500 to 8000. Indeed it is common knowledge that women as the care givers in homes will face the brunt of this faster than men. Moreover the resource distribution curve greatly disadvantages women, in fact only 28% of the land in Uganda is owned by women. Land is a major factor of production and it goes without saying therefore that many women remain generally are financially vulnerable. With the continuing escalating prices of commodities, we can accurately Tate that domestic violence will rise in many homes. Why does GOU continue to remain silent. If indeed, the women of Uganda were at the heart of the decision makers, Government would have reigned on private business owners and restored the fuel prices as it was before. But because the private owners are also in government, there has been loud silence for Government. It can’t stay this way any longer.
Maternal mortality is still very high. First of all we must make it clear that we are women because of our biological factors. Because we are created with reproductive organs that are identifies as female. This means that our needs cannot be the same as those for men.
Every day we lose an average of 50 women to child birth related issues. For how long shall we continue to die as we bring life to the world. Child birth is a God given privilege given to women and governments allover the world have the responsibility to save the lives of women in this process and GOU has continued to prioritise sectors like the defense sector instead of investing in the health sector and in maternal health. If the head of state is taking stock of how may more policemen we need in Uganda, when shall we hear clear figures and commitments on how many more midwives we need in order to secure our mothers? This cannot go on the same way.
The now lucrative organ trade has diabolically affected vulnerable women. We have highly connected wealthy individuals who have been dealing in labor export and now their trade has taken a most unfortunate turn. Women like Judith Nakintu whose ordeal leaves tears in our eyes and pain in our hearts are suffering and Government is looking on. It has failed to regulate this sector because of the highly connected individuals who are doing this evil act of harvesting body organs from girls under the guise of helping them find a living abroad. We cannot talk about gender equality when our right to life is not protected. State institutions are involved in taking advantage of women whilst Government stays silent. This can no longer go on.
For long the NRM government lauded itself for being a promoter of Universal education however, as women, we carefully note that the number of girls who complete school at primary seven level is a tenth of the number of girls who join at primary 1 level. The massive fallout is due to reasons such as lack of access to sanitary facilities coupled with social cultural challenges which Government has for decades failed to check. World over, Education is the only equaliser that give an equal chance to even the down trodden in society to make it in life. But we ask, How can the NRM government say that it supports girl child education if the promise of sanitary towels is only but a pledge given in campaigns, never to be fulfilled. For the 37 of so years of its existence, the NRM government has not constructed any girls government school. To date, all those that are Government owned, have their origins in the pre- NRM era. What a shame.
We therefore state that it is not enough to have women occupy offices in our Country. The position of women in Uganda is not just about inserting articles in the constitution but it is time to achieve true equality and not token representation
CHAIRPERSON FDC WOMEN LEAGUE