By Clare Muhindo and David Lumu
Officials from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development have revealed that foreigners in firms around the country are abusing girls.
Jane Mpagi, the Director for gender and community development in the ministry, yesterday told journalists that many girls have reported to her, claiming they are being sexually harassed by their employees.
Although not armed with the exact statistics and firms that are carrying out the act, Mpagi said that the ministry is carrying out investigations on the firms that are doing this.
Mpagi pledged to reveal the firms when the ministry concludes the investigations.
“Isolated cases have been reported whereby firms hire young girls when they are single, and when they get married or get pregnant they are fired when they return from their maternity leave,” Mpagi said.
Mpagi said that this abuse is contrary to section 57 of the employment act which guarantees women who become pregnant a 60 days maternity leave and the right to return to the job they held before the maternity leave.
Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry said that Uganda has a strong legislative policy framework that supports gender equality and women’s empowerment, based on commitments under the constitution as well as other international obligations on gender equality.
“Ugandan society is however characterized by strong patriarchal beliefs that value male supremacy and women’s subordination. Government is determined to tackle the various forms of gender inequalities including gender based violence,” Bigirimana said.
He said that though women are the primary victims of gender base violence due to unequal power relations, men also suffer the same.
“Many times rich women abuse men, however traditionally a man cannot cry in public, so they are suffering silently,” he said.