Kadaga Roots For Women’s Socio-Economic Transformation

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Addressing the 10th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting (WAMM) in Dhaka, Bangladesh recently, Kadaga noted that government priorities in sub-Saharan Africa focus on physical infrastructure even as the dignity and bodily integrity of the woman continues to be violated.

She noted that many rural women had not been emancipated with several in the agricultural sector struggling to access markets for their produce. The Speaker also highlighted the need to address the girl child drop out rate which is on the rise.

“While affirmative action both at the level of parliament and local government has increased numbers to a critical mass of women, the expected social transformation has remained elusive.

In a number of cases, appointment of women to leadership positions is perceived as doing them a favor for which they should be grateful,” Speaker Kadaga told delegates to the Conference.

The Speaker hailed Uganda for its tremendous progress towards gender equality over the last 20 years but expressed reservations over their implementation as many government bureaucrats do not really appreciate gender issues.

Referring to the participation of women in political party leadership, Rt.Hon. Kadaga noted with concern the domination of men in the party executives.

“The issue of the inclusion and active participation of women in the different political parties remains problematic because there are very few women holding positions in party executive decision making organs and structures at all levels. Political party leadership in Uganda is male dominated. Although the major political parties commit to specific indices of women at each level in the structure, the reality is different,” she added.

In her meeting with her Bangladesh counterpart Rt. Hon. Shirin Sharmin Chaudry, Speaker of the Parliament of Bangladesh, Rt.Hon.Kadaga commended the Bangladesh Government for the promotion of women interests through the Joyeeta Foundation, a dedicated business platform that supports and facilitates grass root women entrepreneurs to showcase and market their own products and services, has in that way empowered them.

She expressed the need for Bangladesh women to visit Uganda to retool the rural women who lack access to markets for their produce.

Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudry the Speaker of Parliament of Bangladesh Parliament advocated for the involvement of women in leadership.

She emphasized financial empowerment and creating access to markets by governments for the women groups to sell their products as an avenue that can enhance self sustainability in the long term.

Bangladesh is to set up service-oriented markets in rural areas. Additionally banks will provide loans to improve their work as government provides linkages to markets.

Delegates from over twenty four Countries are attending the meeting organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, has warned against the current thematic school curriculum being implemented in primary schools across the country.

The curriculum provides that teachers in lower primary section conduct lessons in the local indigenous languages to enhance learning.

But Speaker Kadaga, while recently addressing participants at the Day of the African Child celebrations for Kamuli district held at Nawansaso, expressed strong objection to the arrangement.

“I am really concerned over the new system of teaching students in the local languages. These languages are not examinable and this puts pupils in the rural areas at a big disadvantage,” she said.

The Speaker also noted the decline in the mastery of the English language in schools, with several pupils in the candidate classes not able to express themselves.

“Pupils need to read more often to improve their language skills. The current trend will create two classes of citizens; those who can express themselves (in English) and those who cannot,” Hon. Kadaga warned.

The Speaker also decried the rampant defilement and early marriages recorded in Busoga region with reports indicating Mayuge district had 40 underage girls impregnated and out of school.

Meanwhile school children have attacked parents for what they termed as neglect of duty and responsibility.

In a petition presented to the Speaker and through several drama skits, the pupils showcased social cultural and economic practices that are harmful to their welfare.

They preached love, respect and the abolition of corporal punishment from the school system.

Kamuli district in partnership with Plan International and other development partners will soon embark on an aggressive programme to feed all school children in the district to improve retention and attendance.


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