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Women emancipation shouldn’t be politicised

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th March 2010 03:00 AM

AS Uganda joined the world to celebrate Women’s Day, a group of women from the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC Women) held a demonstration to protest the Government’s failure to provide adequate maternity facilities in hospitals.

AS Uganda joined the world to celebrate Women’s Day, a group of women from the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC Women) held a demonstration to protest the Government’s failure to provide adequate maternity facilities in hospitals.

By Emma W. Tinka

AS Uganda joined the world to celebrate Women’s Day, a group of women from the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC Women) held a demonstration to protest the Government’s failure to provide adequate maternity facilities in hospitals.

The women had a legitimate right to protest, but I strongly feel their activities did not add any value to the spirit of Women’s Day.

March 8 is not about celebration, but a time for all those involved (women and men) in the struggle for gender equality to sit, share ideas, evaluate achievements, challenges and work towards making a difference. By not joining their compatriots in Bushenyi, they were ‘defiling’ Women’s Day by politicking.

Their problem could have been President Museveni and his politics, but it remains a fact that the President’s name is written all over the struggle for women emancipation in Uganda.

The operational word on such days is commemoration, not celebration. Perhaps it could be a problem with the English language.

Yet, I am not saying there is no need to celebrate because the achievements in the struggle for the social and political empowerment for women are worth a toast on such a day.

Much as women must continue pressing for their demands, we should know that emancipation is a process that should be given time to actually achieve tangible results because it involves various spheres and the Government, as a major player, cannot deliver in isolation.
Dividing ourselves along party lines can only make matters worse because coming together, regardless of our affiliations, is the only way to show our strength.
There was a time when women were not allowed to work, vote, be trained, hold public office and were generally discriminated against. This has since changed and the commemoration of Women’s Day helps move us from strength to strength.

The UNDP 2007 mid-term report on Uganda shows that we are on track to achieve its target on gender equality and empowerment of women by 2015. We can only thank the Government and at the same time honour our advancement.

The Government has scored well in terms of promoting the rights of women and their participation in politics and social economic development.

By 2006, the girl-child enrolment in primary schools had increased to 49.8% up from 44.2% in the 1990s thanks to the introduction of free education.

The affirmative action introduced by the Government has empowered and liberated more women.

We only need more sensitisation to increase awareness of the importance of girls staying in school, and rally around them to do what is right.

More women are directly involved in the democratic processes of this country.

The fact that the IPC women are able to stage a demonstration is, in itself, a manifestation of a deliberate effort to liberate more political space for women.

And for Ingrid Turinawe to say that women in Parliament cannot even cough for fear that the President might hear them, is an insult to women like Rebecca Kadaga, Margaret Muhanga and others who have contributed immensely to this country.

Reducing the struggle for women emancipation to mere political rhetoric is off the mark. The struggle continues, but we have to keep our eyes on the prize.

The writer works at the Uganda Media Centre

Women emancipation shouldn’t be politicised

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