At a recent international conference, a lady from UK commented about how people loosely use the phrase â€˜gender empowermentâ€™ without any positive results.
This led into a heated debate between the gender activists and gender insensitive group which later turned into a focused conversation. As a result we agreed that advocating gender equality without affirmative action will not result into anything positive.
Almost 20 years ago President Yoweri Museveni supported more girls to join higher institutions of learning by adding an extra 1.5 points to their entry-level marks. This was one of the best practical ways of gender empowerment because there has been an increase in the number of girls graduating from institutions of higher learning.
It has also led to the increase in the number of women in public and private organisations working as commissioners, managers, directors and as ministers; roles which were dominated by men in the past.
As a country, to achieve gender empowerment, we must move from advocacy to action. Women shouldnâ€™t only be told about their rights but instead be given skills to fight for those rights.
For instance, advocating that women have access to land and property is a good effort. However, it will be even greater when women are taught ways of making money so that they buy their own land.
Now is the time to put in place measurable plans to produce results. For instance, if we want to see gender equality in work places, letâ€™s give women the skills for them to get jobs on merit and what they can offer.
From advocacy to action