Women and girls empowerment

Women and girls empowerment program

Although there has been some positive steps taken by the legislative organ of Uganda in conjunction with the Government of Uganda (GOU), the Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) and other various stakeholders to ensure social, economic, cultural and political gender parity is achieved, challenges impending full enjoyment of women’s rights in Uganda such as Female Genital Mutilation, forced marriages, child marriages, widow inheritance, discriminatory inheritance, harmful practices and violence against women continue to prevail in the rural areas of the country. The gaps between policy and practice to reinforce the state of women’s rights in Uganda continue to be grim. Challenges that have continued to impede the full enjoyment of women’s rights in Uganda predominantly include:

Land Rights

Some cultures still believe women are chattels to be inherited. These beliefs have often made rural women and girls more inferior, vulnerable and marginalized in both public and private spheres. This has led women in rural areas to remain the most deprived, discriminated and denied rights to own land both ancestral, before marriage, in marriage and out of marriage. There is therefore need to pay special attention to programs geared towards women empowerment specifically single mothers in areas of property ownership, encouraging them to undertake adult learning , vocational training and micro—business training.

Woman Land rights

Poverty and Inequality

Women are still exposed to incidences of domestic violence, and 12.2% of households are headed by single mothers. Women in rural areas bear unequal brunt of the hardships occasioned by poverty and a deeply clan based culture which promotes strict male hierarchy and authority. A critical element of hardship emanates from the women’s increasing roles as providers of basic needs or amenities to the members of their households. They majorly engage in subsistence farming and informal trade like, market vending, stone quarrying, and roadside petty trade. Any shocks to the sectors they engage in to earn a livelihood, means they will slide into poverty. In these circumstances, women in the rural areas come under extreme pressures and violence under stressful conditions.They suffer cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment including Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), a general lack of access to formal justice mechanisms and extreme marginalization and repression under the traditional justice system or harsh implementation of clan based culture demands. Efforts have been made to emphasize gender mainstreaming in all government programs within the district. However, a lot needs to be done and due to lack of skills, women and girls are predominantly marginalized.

Health Care

Maternal mortality remains very high at a rate of 336 deaths per 100,000 live births. Women dying of preventable death in childbirth. Clandestine unsafe abortions are a major cause and obscured or prolonged labor at 22%, hemorrhage 42%. The level of access to family planning services and contraception remains very low. According to Wakiso District Health Department Data and survey findings in 2014 by Savimax Ltd, a considerable 34.2 % of residents travel a distance between 1k -5km to the nearest health facility and a total of 74 parishes did not have health facilities. The biggest challenge faced by the residents in relation to the health facilities was that they were far from where they stay, services are extremely poor, health facilities infrastructure are in a sorry state of despair, poorly equipped, drug stock outs, poor customer care and are very expensive compared to the incomes of majority of the residents. Only 23.1% of the residents had access to a nearby maternity home. However, 34.1% indicated that they used the maternity homes, which means that good a number of them use alternative unconventional health methods.

Health Care
Security for women

Security of Women

Information gathered from different stake holders indicate that there was a sharp rise in the number of women killed, some of whom were subjected to sexual violence. According to the police, 28 women were killed in Entebbe town in Wakiso District. On 3 September 2017, the police spokesperson made a public statement that four categories of murder had been identified and that 13 people had been arrested and charged in connection with the 28 killings. Twelve of the victims had been raped or sexually assaulted before they were killed; four of them were killed by their husbands or partners; one woman was killed by her two brothers in what the police classified as a revenge killing; the other cases were described as “ritual murders”. There is therefore every need for women and girls to be sensitized on the existing legal documents that are meant to protect them against deprivation of their rights as provided for in the constitution.

Harmful Cultural practices

Surveys by the Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), Prevalence of child marriage in Kampala is (21%). However, adolescent childbearing is more common in rural than in urban areas (27 versus 19 percent, respectively). According to the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) of 2011, the estimated prevalence of FGM/C among girls and women between 15-49 years of age is 1.4%. Up to 134,000 women are affected.


There are several factors threatening education especially completion, including a high incidence of school dropouts, particularly in rural areas, attributed in many instances to teacher absenteeism and the resultant deterioration in delivery and quality of education. Compared to boys, girls’ retention and completion rates continue to remain low. This is attributed to persistent socio-cultural and economic barriers that keep girls out of school. The situation is worse for girls in rural areas

Studies show that when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits. Their families are healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase. In short, communities become more resilient.

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