By Joyce Namutebi
Government has been asked to promote women’s economic empowerment by mobilizing them to participate in programs such as the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and joining Savings and Credit cooperatives (SACCOs).
This is one of the recommendations from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development as Uganda joins the rest of the world to mark International women’s Day today.
Given the low levels of education, most grassroots women are engaged in low-income jobs or are self- employed in the informal sector, the ministry said in a statement on Women’s day.
“Studies have established that among secondary and tertiary graduates, those in wage employment are generally better off than those in self- employment, yet the share of women in wage employment in non- agricultural sectors is only 40%. In the employment sector, women comprise 74.7 percent of employees in the lowest paying sectors such as agriculture and quarrying, in comparison to 65% of men.”
"The meager incomes of women therefore subject them to economic dependency and contribute to among others unequal gender power relations at the household level, which affects decision making at family level.”
Uganda celebrates the day under the theme “The Gender Agenda: Connecting Grassroots Women to Development” with the main national event staged at Nabinyonyi grounds in Nakasongola District.
President Yoweri Museveni is expected to be the chief guest at theevent.
The ministry also called for support to women to engage in income-generating activities and support to access regional and international markets.
It recommends scaling up of the Functional Adult Literacy Programme to target more grassroots women.
The curriculum should include business skills with specific focus on entrepreneurial development, business planning, value addition, marketing and pricing, it said.
“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.”
Nakasongola district woman MP, Margaret Komuhangi said the government has tried to promote women and their issues such as affirmative action in education and politics, but said there is need to work on community access roads to enable the women connect to markets for their produce.
She urged the government to improve water supply in the rural areas to enable the women irrigate their crops during the dry seasons.
She advised that village health teams be given basic drugs and family planning pills for easy access by women.