Women leaders ask the government to reignite its commitment towards the promotion of women’s rights

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Oxfam in Uganda and the Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) have today hosted the Women Leaders’ Colloquium.

The meeting has brought together female government technocrats, elected leaders, Women’s Rights Organisations, female professionals, artists, innovators, women entrepreneurs, female cultural and religious leaders, young student leaders, and others to celebrate women and girls in recognition of the dignity with which they faced the past year which was characterized by the COVID 19 pandemic. The colloquium was also intended to provide space for national, institutional and individual introspection to fulfil our obligations to women empowerment and the inclusion of women’s concerns in the country’s development goals.

At the peak of the COVID 19 crisis, women and girls made tremendous efforts to shoulder additional demands. They were and remain health and primary caregivers, home-school tutors, breadwinners, innovators, etc. Women and girls across different levels revealed themselves as exemplary and effective leaders in providing solutions to the pandemic. The crisis highlighted the centrality of their contributions, the disproportionate burdens they encounter, and their resilience.

At a time when people all over the world are striving to regain normalcy following the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Uganda celebrated International Women’s Day under the national theme, “Building on women’s strength for a better future in the COVID-19 world.” This global moment was also celebrated under the tagline, #ChooseToChallenge; calling out and condemning gender bias, rejecting inequality, and questioning stereotypes that drive gender inequity.

While speaking at the Women Leaders’ Colloquium, Oxfam’s Country Director Francis Shanty Odokorach said that “as with most crises, women and girls have shouldered additional demands during this pandemic. Oxfam papers like “Care in the time of Corona Virus,” revealed the consequences of the pandemic on the health, economic security and wellbeing of women and their families, with women reporting feeling more anxious, depressed, overworked or ill because of their increased unpaid care work.”

He added that “Amidst this, women have kept the world running during the Covid-19 response, picking up the care workload in hospitals, homes, and workplaces. It is therefore crucial that we have a women-centred development agenda with diverse government and civil society leaders drawing lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Women leaders have asked the government to draw lessons from the COVID 19 pandemic and reignite its commitment to its obligations towards the promotion of women’s rights under various regional and international treaties, such as the Maputo Protocol, the Beijing Platform for Action, and the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW.)

They have also asked the government to popularise the National Women’s Manifesto 2021-2026 as a tool to demand transformative action and accountability on gender equality.