United States of America ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac has said if African countries are to develop, they should do more to support their women and children.
Speaking at a ceremony organized by the Forum for Women in Democracy [Fowode] to pass out girls and women who have been trained in leadership and entrepreneurship, Malac said calling for equality between men and women should never be construed to mean women wanting to take over men’s spaces.
“Sometimes we believe that we have to be better than men and men think that we are here to replace them; we are actually not here to replace them but we have to claim for what is ours on the basis of equality; we cannot do this without men so we need them on the table,” Malac said.
She thanked Fowode for building an army of strong determined and resilient women who are capable of providing leadership and standing up for women’s rights.
“I have been a proud feminist for many years and I know the challenges are many in different countries but finding solutions is the best thing. Countries which don’t support their women and children cannot succeed,” Malac said.
She said women have to be part of the decision making process not only in politics, but also in all other spheres of life.
“I know it’s a life journey but I want to encourage you that we shouldn’t give up; women have the inner force within them, we just need someone to awaken them.”
Patricia Munabi Babiiha, the executive director Fowode said they have been implementing the young leaders mentoring program since 2004 with the goal of promoting values, building leadership capacity of young people to be able to solve local and global issues independently.
“Our mentoring work was initiated by our concern as an organiasation about equity and equality between women and men which is not properly addressed on different levels. We therefore thought it was important to engage women and men in issues of gender equality,” Munabi said.
She added that as a country that has been disturbed by war, conflicts, and economic and social crisis such as decline in agriculture productivity, high birth rate and high debt burden, collapse of public service systems among others, there was need for them to empower women and other marginalized groups to be able to confront these ills.
“We believe that young leaders need to be aware of young leadership in Africa, interrogate the strength and weakness of our leaders both the past and the present,” Munabi said.