Hellen asamomdg3


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Hellen asamomdg3

  1. 1. MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower WomenThe most effective strategies and approaches for supporting genderequality constitute empowerment and gender mainstreaming. Anotherimportant area of focus has been capacity-building for institutions inorder to enable them to incorporate a gender equality perspective intheir work. Unfortunately most gender equality strategies andapproaches in Uganda do not target women with disabilities.Despite the fact that women with disabilities are double discriminatedin social, cultural, political and economical spheres and more likely tobe victims of sexual abuse, they are always not included in initiativesdeveloped to address such challenges. However, NUWODU is tryingits level best to advocate for the inclusion of women with disabilities inthe women organizations’ strategies and approaches to genderequality in particular but also in the mainstream strategies andapproaches in general. This third goal “Promote Gender Equalityand Empower Women” is cross cutting among all the other MDGsgoals. For instance, in order to scale up gender parity in primaryeducation, paying special attention to location and school specificdisability – specific gender differences, particularly on how girls withdisabilities are treated is critical.Despite the fact that womens empowerment strategies emphasizethe importance of addressing years of discrimination against womenby devising programmes and strategies that increase womens skills,capacities, rights, and opportunities, it is unfortunate that suchstrategies do not target women with disabilities who are doublediscriminated as women first and then as disabled.Although, ideally empowerment would address ways in whichdevelopment cooperation initiatives help create the conditionswhereby women can become the agents of their own developmentand empowerment, women with disabilities in Uganda have not beeninvolved in such initiatives.If at all, empowerment is the ability to exercise power, then womenwith disabilities should also be given opportunities to exercise power
  2. 2. in the social institutions that govern their daily lives. I do agree withwomen advocates who emphasizes that empowerment cannot bedone from the outside, but something women need to do forthemselves1. Using the adage of the wearer of the shoe knowingbest where it pinches most, I think women with disabilities know theirproblems best and therefore should be given opportunities toparticipate in the identification, formulation and implementation ofstrategies and approaches to address them. Therefore, it ismisleading to assume that governments or other external agents canempower women with disabilities.In a paper presented on “Approaches on Gender Equality” 2, oneaspect of empowerment that was recognized as a critical area ofconcern in the Beijing Platform for Action is womens participation informal political structures. Critically analyzing this Uganda hasachieved much as far as representation is concerned but thechallenge is the quality of services these women with disabilities arerendering. Most women with disabilities, though in Councilorspositions representing PWDs at the Sub counties or districts, lack thecompetence to effectively advocate and lobby for the concerns ofWWDs. To make matters worse, the mainstream womenorganizations do not involve WWDs in their initiatives onempowerment for the cause. NUWODU has done its best to sensitizethese organizations but they tend each time to do not know or haveforgotten how to involve us. As both a process and a goal, womensempowerment is fundamentally connected to democratization, humanrights and the self determination of women and men.In this case therefore, NUWODU is thankful to the Civil SocietyCapacity Building Programme that has been able to support theempowerment of women with disabilities in Leadership andentrepreneur skills.Another approach to support gender equality is gendermainstreaming which emphasizes the importance of addressing thedifferent impacts and opportunities that a particular programme orpolicy may have on women and men. 3 The strategy focuses onmaking gender equality concerns central to policy formulation,1 Carr et al2 DAC Sourcebook on Concepts and Approaches3 www.undp.org/unifem
  3. 3. legislation, resource allocations, and planning and monitoring ofprogrammes. Using this strategy to achieve gender equality requireschanges in awareness and capacity of all personnel, and impliesstrong management commitment. A knowledge base on the linkagesbetween gender equality and the substantive issues and processes inorganizational programmes needs to be developed, and practicalanalytical skills fostered. Methodologies and tools need to bedeveloped and resource bases of more in-depth expertise in relevantareas established. The biggest challenge for women with disabilitiesin Uganda is making disability–specific gender concerns central topolicy formulation, legislation, resource allocations, and planning andmonitoring of programmes. Surprisingly even in the disabilitymovement itself, nothing much has been achieved in regard togender mainstreaming into the movement’s programmes.Furthermore, NUWODU is faced with a challenge of developing aknowledge base on the linkages between disability–specific genderequality and the substantive issues and processes. This would not bevery difficult if funds were secured but there is a tendency of bothgovernment and donors not considering disability–specific genderequality issues as a priority on their agenda.In Uganda currently, at least some development cooperationprogrammes have mainstreamed disability-specific gender concernsinto their programmes. For instance the ILO/Irish Partnership isbuilding capacity of WWDs’ Entrepreneurs. This programme is beingimplemented by the Federation of the Uganda Employers, anorganization advocating for employment issues and it is using thetwin track strategy. NUWODU has realized that if women withdisabilities are to fully benefit from development programmes andcontribute to the achievement of all the Millennium DevelopmentGoals, then the twin track strategy must be utilized. The ILO/IrishPartnership twin track strategy involves implementing some activitiesintegrating women with disabilities and women without disabilities;and other activities being solely for women with disabilities. At thenational, although disability issues and gender issues have beenmainstreamed into its institutions, laws, and government policies, thedisability-specific gender issues are still ignored. However, even forthe disability and gender issues which have been mainstreamed,funding and implementation is still a big challenge. As an umbrellaorganization, NUWODU has already realized that women with
  4. 4. disabilities’ associations are doing their best not only to target theiradvocacy and lobbying for gender mainstreaming at a national level(institutions, laws, and government policies) and developmentcooperation programmes but also mainstreaming gender issues intotheir procedures and structures. However, it has been noted thateffective gender mainstreaming calls for a complete transformation ofthe development agenda, so that the participation of women asdecision makers influences development priorities and activities. 4 Inthis case, NUWODU has a lot to do to ensure that women withdisabilities participate in decision making positions in regard to thePoverty Reduction Action Plan (PEAP) and hence contribute to theattainment of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.Like Schalkwvk and Woroniuk (1997),5 NUWODU’ advocacy formainstreaming gender do not rule out funding specific projects thatempower women to work towards equality, as it is well known thatthere are some special and specific needs which cannot beaddressed by the mainstream projects.One of the biggest challenges of incorporating an understanding ofdisability-specific gender and women with disabilities empowermentin Ugandan institutions (ministries, parastatals, NGOs, etc.), is lack ofdisability-specific gender mainstreaming know how. Although manymultilateral, bilateral, government and non-governmentalorganizations have invested in training to increase staff skills ingender analysis, nothing much has been invested to increase skills indisability-specific gender analysis. Whereas guidelines, checklistsand gender action plans have been developed to assist staff inprogramming, disability-specific gender action plans are yet to bedeveloped.Both women with disabilities’ empowerment and disability-specificgender mainstreaming strategies are relevant to efforts to buildinternal institutional capacity to support disability-specific genderequality. Empowerment strategies may focus on providing leadershipand skill training to ensure that women with disabilities can takeadvantage of opportunities to rise to senior positions. Disability-specific gender mainstreaming strategies may involve analyzing4 Concepts and Approaches Linked To Gender Equality (Schalkwyk and Woroniuk, 1997)5 Concepts and Approaches Linked To Gender Equality (Schalkwyk and Woroniuk, 1997)
  5. 5. differential impacts of organizational policies on women withdisabilities staff members or ensuring that disability-specific genderconcerns are taken into account in programmes.However, it should be recognized that no single strategy can be usedto build institutional capacity to support disability-specific genderequality. NUWODU is urging for carrying disability-specific gendertraining, review of policies and programmes, incorporating disability-specific gender-accountable procedures into recruitment andperformance evaluation procedures, issuing guidelines andchecklists, and many other activities.It is extremely surprising how many women organizations continue toproduce policies and programmes that fail to recognize the needs ofwomen with disabilities, despite the fact that we have talked to themat length.All in all, in order to achieve the third millennium development goalwomen with disabilities must be meaningfully involved in the genderequality and women empowerment strategies. Also a twin trackstrategy should be utilized and an enabling environment created toachieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.Twin track strategy