Women constitute over 51.2% (UNHS, 2005/6) of the Uganda population, income inequality and distribution metrics show that there is a big disparity, implying that growth and redistribution of resources continue to demine development efforts, it is important therefore, to have equal access to resourc
Women constitute over 51.2% (UNHS, 2005/6) of the Uganda population, income inequality and distribution metrics show that there is a big disparity, implying that growth and redistribution of resources continue to demine development efforts, it is important therefore, to have equal access to resources and opportunities of this country if we are to realize equitable development in Uganda.
The national constitution also guarantees equality in line with this, a policy on affirmative action was adopted to partly address gender disparities and promote women empowerment in political, social and economic spheres.
As a way of fostering equity and promoting equal access to opportunities in the social, economic and political arenas, the GoU established the Equal Opportunities Commission.
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) was established by The Equal Opportunities Act 2007, in fulfillment of Article 32(3) for the purpose of eliminating discrimination and inequalities against any individual or group of persons.
“To eliminate discrimination and inequalities against any individual or group of persons on the ground of sex, age, race, color, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, health status, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability, and take affirmative action in favor of the groups marginalized on the basis of gender, age, disability or any other reason created by history, tradition or custom for the purpose of redressing imbalances which exist against them; and to provide for other related matters.
“A just and fair society where all persons have equal opportunity to participate and benefit in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life”.
“The EOC is a constitutional body established to give effect to the state’s mandate to eliminate discrimination against any individual or groups of persons through taking affirmative action to redress imbalances and promote equal opportunities for all in all spheres of life”
Members of the Commission:
At present the Commission consists of four Members of the five statutory Members who include a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, at least one person with a disability, a youth and two women.
The Executive Secretary to the Commission is Ms. Catherine Amal a seasoned administrator who heads the Secretariat.
The EOC Core values:
• Equality; we shall treat and protect all people equally regardless of their status in all spheres of life (political, economic, social and cultural).
• Equity; in handling issues of discrimination and inequalities within society, the EOC shall treat every individual and group of persons with fairness and impartiality.
• Justice; we shall treat all people justly and fairly to enhance their opportunities.
• Non discrimination; we shall treat all people with fairness, enhance non-discrimination and ensure equitable access to economic, social and political opportunities in life.
• Integrity; we shall work with honesty and truthfulness in all our undertakings.
• Inclusion; EOC shall ensure that all the people discriminated against or marginalized are actively and meaningfully involved in all its programmes.
• Diversity; The EOC shall respect divergent views from all groups of people concerning promotion of equal opportunities.
MODE OF OPERATION & THE JUDICIAL POWERS OF COMMISSION :
The Commission has powers of court to discharge its functions; the EOC Act (2007) empowers the Commission to proceed judiciously.
The Commission investigates, inquires into matters on its own initiative on a complaint made by any person or an act, circumstance, conduct, omission, program, activity or practice which seems to amount to or constitute discrimination, marginalization, or otherwise undermine equal opportunities.
The Commission may refer any matter to any other institution, body, tribunal or authority, Recommend to or order any entity to adopt or take particular steps or action which, in the opinion of the Commission will promote equal opportunities.
In sight of the above mentioned, the EOC is another of the State’s mechanisms for enforcing of a variety of rights where evidence of discrimination exists among vulnerable groups like women.
Owing to the fact that vulnerable groups have limited access to justice due to poverty, illiteracy and lack of awareness Commission will roll out its Tribunal services to all parts of Uganda.
Using a circuit tribunal system, it is envisaged that a big percentage of the population especially the vulnerable, marginalized and disadvantaged groups will take advantage of the free and expeditious Tribunal services of the Commission.
A sensitization campaign targeting women through media programmes, Threatre in social development production will be organised in order to make woman understand and appreciate issues of equal opportunities & affirmative action on how to access the services of the commission.
Grass root women should make use of the Commission’s services that are free of charge and expeditious to tackle the structural discriminatory practices in order to fully exploit their potential and participate equally in development processes and benefits.
Equal Opportunities Commission
P.O.Box 27672 Kampala, Uganda.
Plot 7 Luthuli Close, Bugolobi.
website : www.eoc.ug
Tel: 0414223234 / 0414223262
The Equal Opportunities Commission