The minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Janat Mukwaya, has called for enhanced women’s financial empowerment through availing affordable credit, market opportunities and institution of affirmative action measures.
Mukwaya says financially-empowered women can benefit from a fixed percentage of tenders for the supply of goods and services in public procurement. Speaking on Monday at the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), taking place at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, Mukwaya said since the bigger part of world population comprises women, their economic empowerment would greatly contribute to sustainable development.
The minister said the government of Uganda had made tremendous strides to improving the environment within which rural women and girls live and operate.
She cited the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP) initiated two years ago to empower women, which is providing funds to over 44,000 women to invest in projects that generate income.
She added that Uganda has achieved gender equality in schools, having attained 47 per cent of girls at secondary education level.
“Let’s support women and girls to attain education, life skills and literacy including financial literacy as a springboard for holistic development,” Mukwaya said in a press statement from her ministry.
Similarly, she added that the Youth Livelihood Programme has, since 2015, reached over 74,140 female youths (45%) as beneficiaries with skills training and capital for business enterprises. She called for enhanced dialogue with women and girls to capture their needs from lived experiences in policy formulation, planning and programming.
“They want to see themselves being consulted on issues that affect them and working closely with all stakeholders to effect the required actions,” she said.
Mukwaya also mentioned agricultural production investments and infrastructure developments that have enhanced economic growth and transformation of the society.
“These investments have generated concrete results, especially increased access to safe water for rural communities, health services, immunization coverage and antenatal care for pregnant women,” Mukwaya said.
She also recommended that all forms of gender-based violence (GBV) including child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) be addressed through strategies for prevention and response that bring on board men and boys as behavioral change agents and advocates.
Mukwaya is leading a high-power delegation comprising Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Gender ministry’s Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana, and Uganda’s Permanent Representative at the UN, Ambassador Adonia Ayebare.
Meanwhile, Uganda is scheduled to hold a side event on Thursday March 15, 2018 focusing on transforming lives of rural women and girls through gender and equity budgeting.