Hodan Addou UNWomen

Uganda Launches the First Women’s Parliament

Isis-WICCE was thrilled to see one of its recommendations from her research study entitled ‘Making a difference beyond numbers: Towards women’s substantive engagement in political leadership in Uganda coming to pass. The study called for the need to build synergy between women political leaders and the women’s movement. This was realized when the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) launched the women’s parliament; the first of its kind in the history of the Uganda parliament.

On July 7, women leaders across class diversities and geographical location converged in the parliament of Uganda. The aim of the convening was to create an all-inclusive platform for women to reflect on the successes Uganda has made to champion gender equality using CEDAW as a yardstick. The chairperson of UWOPA, Hon. Betty Amongi provided highlights of the different policies Uganda has formulated and implemented and successes achieved. These included the Domestic Violence Act 2010, Equal Opportunities Act 2009, Mortgage Act 2009, Land Amendment Act 2005 and Female Genital Act 2003. A few civil society representatives provided data on some of the gaps in Uganda’s implementation of CEDAW. Whereas all speakers acknowledge key successes for Uganda being the enactment of all the said laws, there was consensus that there are numerous issues to be addressed in the implementation process and called on the government of Uganda to protect the rights of all citizens.

It was also noted that the present economic growth analysis that purely measured from a manufacturing and estate point of view has huge gender inequality that need to be considered.

The UN Women Country representative Ms. Hodan Addou congratulated UWOPA and committed to support the initiative. She highlighted two issues that should be considered namely; affirmative action should go beyond women in parliament and include other sectors such as the private sector others. She also called for a strong gender strategy in the electoral process in preparation of the upcoming elections so that Uganda does not reverse its gains.