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International women’s day (iwd) 2013 synopsis

International women’s day (iwd) 2013 synopsis






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    International women’s day (iwd) 2013 synopsis International women’s day (iwd) 2013 synopsis Document Transcript

    • Theme: “The Gender Agenda: Connecting Grassroots Women toDevelopment”1.0 IntroductionEach year around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated onthe 8th of March. Various events take place to highlight the economic, politicaland social achievements of women. Governments, Civil Society Organizations,Institutions, Development Partners, Women’s Groups, the Private Sector and theMedia participate in commemorating the day.International Women’s Day is celebrated in recognition of the contributions andthe different roles women play in the development process of their countries;hence women from different ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and politicalbackgrounds are united under a common cause and purpose.International Women’s Day is observed under selected themes and the globaltheme for 2013 is “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum”. In Uganda, theNational theme this year is “The Gender Agenda: Connecting GrassrootsWomen to Development”.The national theme recognizes the achievements towards gender equality andwomen empowerment and takes cognizance of the contributions of grassrootswomen to equitable and sustainable development. It draws the attention of alldevelopment actors in Government, Civil Society, Faith Based Organizations andthe Private Sector to examine the extent to which their respective policies andprogrammes have responded to the needs of women, in particular grassrootswomen.Further, the theme emphasizes the importance of connecting grassroots womento development while taking into consideration the gender agenda. Grassrootswomen, as ordinary people in society, on whose behalf decisions are made, 1
    • require that their needs and interests are considered in the policies, laws, plansand programmes in order to attain the universal goals of gender equality andempowerment of women. Equally important, connecting grassroots women todevelopment entails ensuring that they are included in decision makingprocesses that affect their lives and that they are able to contribute to and hencebenefit from development.The Government of Uganda has signed and ratified key frameworks that definethe global gender agenda. These include the 1995 Beijing Declaration andPlatform for Action, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms ofDiscrimination Against Women (CEDAW 1979) which is recognized as theinternational Bill of Rights for women, as well as the Millennium Declaration andDevelopment Goals especially Goal No. 3 which is gender equality and women’sempowerment. At the regional level, Uganda is a party to the Protocol to theAfrican Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights on Women inAfrica (2003), and is signatory to the African Union Solemn Declaration onGender Equality.Uganda aligns itself to the regional and global agenda while defining the NationalAgenda through the existing laws and policies. The Constitution guaranteesequality between men and women. The Uganda Gender Policy (2007) is a guideto mainstreaming gender in all development programmes. The NationalDevelopment Plan identifies gender inequalities, negative attitudes, mindsets,cultural practices and perceptions as some of the constraints that must beaddressed to achieve sustainable and equitable development. One of theobjectives under the Social Development Sector is to promote gender equalityand women’s empowerment by ensuring equitable access to opportunities andtheir participation in the development process.2.0 Challenges of Grassroots Women 2
    • Uganda’s population currently estimated at 30.7 million is predominantly rural,with only 15% living in the urban areas (UNHS 2009/10). Women constitute51.2% of the population with the sex ratio of 95 males per 100 females.The majority of Ugandan women live in rural areas as subsistence farmers andhence form the bulk of grassroots women. These women have limited access toand control over the natural, human, financial, physical and social resources.They have limited skills due to high illiteracy levels as reflected in the literacy rateof 66% for females compared to 79% for males. The situation is worse in ruralareas with illiteracy rates standing at 74% males and 58% for females. (UNHS2009/10)Given the low levels of education, most grassroots women are engaged in lowincome jobs or are self employed in the informal sector. Studies have establishedthat among secondary and tertiary graduates, those in wage employment aregenerally better off than those in self employment, yet the share of women inwage employment in non agricultural sectors is only 40%. (UNHS 2009/10)In the employment sector, women comprise 74.7 percent of employees in thelowest paying sectors such as agriculture and quarrying, in comparison to 65% ofmen. (UNHS 2009/10) The meagre incomes of women therefore subject them toeconomic dependency and contribute to among others unequal gender powerrelations at the household level, which affects decision making at family level.(MOFPED, 2009).Other factors that affect development of grassroots women include thepatriarchal system that dictates women’s subordination to men. Societalexpectation influence women’s roles where women work longer hours (12-18hrs)as compared to men (8-10hrs) as evidenced in women providing 80% of theagricultural labour force while also undertaking work in non-farm activities suchas arts and craft and road side vending to supplement household incomes. In 3
    • addition, women are responsible for the non-paid care work within household andwithin the community.Gender based violence in the form of physical, sexual and psychological abuseis prevalent in the country. According to the Uganda Demographic and HealthSurvey (UDHS) 2011, 28% of the women have ever experienced sexualviolence. 43% of women have ever experienced physical violence at the hands oftheir husband or partner, 26% have ever experienced sexual violence, and 43percent have experienced emotional violence. Overall, about three in five of ever-married women (60%) have experienced any kind of violence (physical, sexual oremotional) by a husband or other intimate partner. This is a reduction from 68%reported during the 2006 UDHS. Physical violence among women aged 15-49reduced slightly (by 3.8%) from 59.9% in 2006 to 56.1 in 2011 while sexualviolence reduced from 39.0% to 27.7% in the same period (UDHS 2011). FemaleGenital Mutilation (FGM) is still being practiced in some communities.Despite the active involvement of grassroots women in food and crop production,most of them do not have control over the proceeds of their labour. Only 25.5%of women control the land they cultivate and, the percentage of women holdingtitled land is 20% (UNHS 2009/ 10).Furthermore, women’s health indicators are still poor as reflected by the highmaternal mortality rate of 438 deaths per 100,000 live births (UDHS 2011).Although there is a downward trend in maternal mortality rate, the improvementis too small in comparison to the MDG target of 131 deaths per 100,000 livebirths. This is due to many factors including early pregnancies, short intervalsbetween pregnancies, prevalence of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB in pregnancy,among other factors. Besides, women’s health is in some cases compromised bytheir inability to negotiate for safe sex as well as make critical decisions abouttheir sexuality. In some instances, women require permission from spouses inorder to get medical attention including family planning services. 4
    • 3.0 Opportunities for Grassroots WomenGovernment of Uganda recognizes the empowerment of women and attainmentof equality. In this regard, Government has formulated and implemented genderresponsive policies with a view of attaining its commitment.The Agriculture Sector has been prioritized for funding, focusing on transformingsubsistence farming to commercial agriculture. Through the National AgriculturalAdvisory Services (NAADS), women are supported in agro processing andmarketing of their products. These initiatives have been successful andcontributed to improved production.The “Prosperity for All” (PFA) programme supports grassroots community-leddevelopment. Under this programme, the Savings and Credit Cooperatives(SACCOs) are being promoted as the main mechanism through which financialservices are channeled to communities. At sub county level, communitymembers, including women are organized to join SACCOs through which theyare able to obtain loans. The interest rates are reasonable at about 13% foragriculture and 17% per annum for commercial activities, as compared to up to35% interest charged on loans from commercial banks. SACCO members alsohave the benefit of acquiring new skills and knowledge from training which is amajor component for development of savings and credit cooperatives.Protection of women’s land rights has been addressed through legal provisionsparticularly the Land Act (1998) and the Mortgage Act (2009). Section 39 A of theLand Amendment Act (2004) details security of occupancy on family land, whilesection 40 prohibits the sale, transfer, exchange, pledge, mortgage or lease offamily land except with prior consent of the spouse (CEDAW Report 2009).Affirmative action, as enshrined in Article 32 of the Constitution of Uganda hasencouraged more women to venture into areas of decision making. The provisionof one third representation of women at local government levels has brought 5
    • grassroots women into decision making positions. Some have progressed tohigher levels. Consequently the proportion of women in Parliament has risenfrom 19.2% in 1996 to 30.4% in 2006 up to the current 34% in the 9th Parliament.In the Education Sector, the affirmative action for female entrants to publictertiary institutions has enhanced gender equity in access to education, thusincreasing their opportunities to participate in development. The UniversalPrimary Education (UPE) programme has increased overall enrollment of boys to50.6% and girl’s enrollment to 49.4% (UNHS 2009/10). The introduction ofUniversal Secondary Education (USE) in 2007 has improved school enrolment atsecondary level as reflected in the boy’s enrollment of 54.5% and girls’enrollment of 45.5 %.( UNHS 2009/10). The Functional Adult Literacyprogramme has over the years enrolled a total of 974,855 learners with womenbeing the main beneficiaries contributing over 70% of enrolled participants whilemen form 30% of the beneficiaries.Government has intensified the response to eliminate gender based violence(GBV). Laws have been enacted such as the Domestic Violence Act (2010), theProhibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act (2010) and the Prevention ofTrafficking in Persons Act, 2009. A national policy on elimination of GBV is in theoffing and mechanisms for effective coordination of stakeholders at national andlocal government levels have been established.As reflected above, the national gender agenda supports the effectiveinvolvement of women, particularly grassroots women in the developmentprocess. Significant gains have been made, but more is still to be done in orderto attain the global gender agenda.4.0 Recommendations and Way Forward• Promote women’s economic empowerment through mobilizing them to participate in programmes such as NAADS and joining Savings and Credit 6
    • Cooperatives (SACCOS). Support women to engage in income generating activities through trade, commerce and access them to regional and international markets.• Prioritize grassroots women’s health and increase attention to non communicable diseases, reproductive health services including family planning, as well as HIV/AIDS prevention and response.• All actors should endeavor to scale up interventions to prevent, respond and end impunity to violence against women so as to cover the whole country.• The Functional Adult Literacy Programme should be scaled up to target more grassroots women. The curriculum should include business skills with specific focus on entrepreneurial development, business planning, value addition, marketing and pricing.• Energy and time saving technologies should be promoted and availed to households to enhance conservation of the environment as well as facilitate improved wellbeing of families.• Leadership skills development for women in political and decision making positions should be prioritized to enhance their ability to effectively participate in making decisions that lead to political, economic and social development. 7