By Francis Emorut
KAMPALA - Women are themselves to blame for their failure to secure top job positions in the country, a top female government official has said, adding that they appear inadequately prepared for interviews.
Solome Nyamungu, the director for efficiency and quality assurance in the ministry of public service, says women, unlike men, do not ready themselves well for job openings.
She was responding to women activists who were accusing government of discriminating against women in top leadership positions in the public service. This was during the release of a survey of women public administrators at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
“Let’s clear this, for you to be successful you need to compete on equal basis. Women don’t put enough effort to prepare while their male counterparts prepare adequately,” she said.
“Women don’t take extra time to prepare and they should be encouraged to do so if they are to get top positions in government.”
The director explained that public service job adverts are publicized with clear job descriptions in the media and interested parties apply.
“We need to see ladies apply for [posts of] commissioners, directors and permanent secretaries,” she said.
She noted that the Public Service Commission board responsible for overseeing recruitment of new public servants consists of both males and females and therefore, it is not male-dominated, as could be perceived.
Perry Aritua (left), who is a consultant, talks to the programme manager of Action for Development Daisy Yossa at the meeting. PHOTO/Francis Emorut
A police officer in charge of women affairs department, Susan Nalwoga, relayed similar views.
She said that when the Uganda Police Force advertises job placements, women don’t apply, leaving the opportunities leaned towards the men and consequently cementing male dominance at the top.
Nalwoga called on women activists to push for a gender-sensitive budget and for the elevation of women in top management positions.
She told the audience that the women in Police have managed to push for a separate department to handle women affairs after realizing that the male-dominated Standards Professional Unit (SPU) could not handle issues affecting women.
The department was created four months ago.
‘Name and shame’
Meanwhile, presenting a study titled: “Status of Gender Balance and Hindrances faced by Women in Public Administration in Uganda”, Perry Aritua, who is a consultant, pointed out that sexual harassment in the workplace was a major hindrance to women climbing to top positions.
She defined sexual harassment as one form of sexual discrimination which arises out of unfair use of influence, power or authority by one person over another.
The commissioner of Electoral Commission Jenny Okello (left) addressed participants during the release of the survey. PHOTO/FranciS Emorut
The consultant said the law of sexual harassment is weak and therefore, needs to be strengthened.
In agreement was Daisy Yossa, programme manager of Action for Development, who noted that there is need to make sexual harassment laws stiffer to deter perpetrators.
During this meeting, the activists complained of a disparity in salaries against women despite having the same qualifications, and called for such lines to be erased through equal pay.
Rita Matovu, the chairperson of Equal Opportunity Commission, stressed the need for a certificate to be issued by the Attorney General to all public officers so as to have equal pay for both women and men who have the same qualifications.
A commissioner from the Electoral Commission, Jenny Okello, recommended that discriminatory ministries and public agencies should be named and shamed.
"Let's publish the government ministries which discriminate against women and we shame them."