TOP
Saturday,September 26,2020 06:16 AM
  • Home
  • News
  • Women push for regional gender law

Women push for regional gender law

By Andrew Ssenyonga

Added 11th August 2017 09:32 AM

The EAC gender equality and development Bill that was passed recently aims at promoting non-discrimination and gender equality in the process of governance for strengthened regional integration and sustainable development of the community.

Women push for regional gender law

The EAC gender equality and development Bill that was passed recently aims at promoting non-discrimination and gender equality in the process of governance for strengthened regional integration and sustainable development of the community.

A group of women under the Eastern African Sub -regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) are pushing for the endorsement of a regional law to harmonies nation laws of the East African Community (EAC) member states, for protection and promotion of gender equality and women's human rights.

The EAC gender equality and development Bill that was passed recently aims at promoting non-discrimination and gender equality in the process of governance for strengthened regional integration and sustainable development of the community.

The EASSI executive director, Dr. Christine Nankubuge said the EAC gender equality and development Act is to advance gender equality and equity across the five member states in economic, social and cultural spheres.

"The Act will benefit women and men by consolidating into one legal binding document, the various instruments to which the regional member states are party at the continental and international level," she said Thursday.

Nankubuge made the call during a breakfast meeting with the EAC affairs minister to lobby for the presidents in the region assent to the bill into law at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala.

She added the bill once agreed upon would contribute to sustainable development in the East African community.

"The law will have a mechanism in which the women can be part of development, how their issues can be at the forefront during the budget drafting and also be included in leadership of their countries," she said.

Miria Matembe, a member of EASSI said the law will compel all partner states to formulate policies and establish institutions that protect women rights.

"This has not been possible due to lack of the common law, which will help to harmonise all these policies into a regional law," she said.

The law will also make EAC partner states more accountable for the deaths and plunder that governments through their armed forces mete out when there is internal conflict.

"In circumstances where conflicts have occurred, and in times of armed and other conflicts, partner states must take such steps necessary to prevent and eliminate incidents of human rights abuses," reads the Bill.

This Bill will affect countries where security forces have orders to shoot and kill civilians.

According to Dr. Christine Mbonyingingo, the chairperson board of directors for EASSI, despite the ratification of various regional and international instruments on gender equality, such laws don't fully protect women's rights.

She noted that EAC partner states need to implement instruments, legislation and policies by allocating sufficient funds and taking affirmative action to be able to address gender inequalities and women's rights and, mitigate barriers to the advancement of women.

"This time round, we are not just pushing for a mere law to be passed on paper, but we have all intentions of measuring government's progress and performance in implementing their commitments towards gender  equality and development," Mbonyingingo said.

The women noted that currently, there is no legal frame work that provides authoritative information or data that can be used to hold partner states accountable on their gender commitments.

They are also optimistic that the law will promote equal participation of women and men in regional trade by entrenching enabling policies and macro-economic frame works that are gender sensitive and responsive.

"We appeal to EALA to pass this Bill because it gives us the mandate to question EAC governments on issues of gender parity," Executive Director Uganda Women's Network Rita Aciro said.

Former EALA MP, Dora Byamukama said despite several policies by partner states, many women are still being discriminated against and had their rights abused, adding that with a regional policy such cases will be minimized.

She noted that the  EAC gender Policy will be a key advocacy tool which will provide a synthesized measure of women's rights and gender equality  that is both easy to understand and  to communicate .

The EAC affairs minister, Julius Maganda assured the women that he would make their issues known to the regional presidents during the extra ordinary meeting due in November this year.

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author