The 2021 International Women's day was commemorated on 8th March 2021 in State house Entebbe. The national theme was "Building on Women's Strengths for a better Future in a COVID-19 World" .
The Global COVID 19 has shaken the core of our society and highlighted the negative consequences and inequalities but has given us an opportunity to build a more equitable and environment development approach as well as a more humane and resilient society.
Madam Rosa Malango the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Representative for the UNWOMEN in Uganda was pleased to celebrate ordinary women who have exhibited acts of courage for positive change through their work in Uganda. She relayed her sympathy and condolences to all women and girls who were disrespected , abused and hamulated during the COVID 19 time and the violence that predated the general elections. She called for peace.
H.E. Yoweri Museveni -The President of Uganda was applauded for being one of the early campions of gender equality and women empowerment in Uganda, creating an environment that has enabled women participate and lead in positions of influence.
Some of the women were recognized for their leadership ( Honesty and transparency) for purposes of encouragement and inspiration: The first lady and minister of Education (Hon Janet Museveni), Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga (Speaker of Parliament), Hon Dr. Ruth Acen (Minister of Health for extra ordinary leadership during COVID 19); Minister of in charge of General duties in the Prime Minister's office ( leadership and creating awareness on SDGs).
Hon. Rodah Kalema , Ms. Joyce Mpanga, Ms Florence Lubega and Ms Florence Akello who served in the Legislative Council (LEGCO). For being pioneers, who contribute to the economy promoting transformation, honesty and transparency; Elizabeth Lwanga, Dr. Maggie Kigozi, Hon Miria Matembe, Ann Njuko (the first woman Chief executive Officer of Stanbic Bank- the largest Bank in Uganda).
Emerging leaders where also recognized; Venesa Nakate (climate change activist) and Victor Nalule who demonstrates that with different abilities you can still lead.
Also special women in cultural institutions were recognized for influencing social change. The Royal Highness the Nnabagereka of Buganda Kingdom for promoting girls education, child rights, safe motherhood and civic education. Her Royal Highness the Queen mother of Tooro kingdom for her role in founding the Uganda Chapter of Traditional Leaders of Africa. The women situation room that managed a call center in the 2021 national elections.
Some women who have been serving their communities selflessly with meager resources during COVID 19 pandemic at grassroot level were also recognized. Ms Oliver Namusambi (E,D Hope for Children- Amudat district); she opened a temporary shelter for girls who where fleeing from Gender Based violence in Kalas Primary school. Ms. Lochoro Maria a 63 year old woman in Nabilatuk district in Karamoja who started Ochamunos Loputuk- a group fighting GBV and offering counselling to the gender based violence survivors in her community. An entrepreneurial group of 8 women and 4 men in Isingiro district solving unemployment and lack of vocational skills by training other youths in shoe making skills and other crafts. A young woman in West Nile (Mabita Ali) was also recognized for her commitment in promoting sports as a powerful sector for developing life skills. Christine Kabazira a budding journalist who is expanding skills in creating awareness in development issues.
Thee was a call for unity and continued improvement in the socio economic status of women and girls while eliminating all forms of violence including female genital mutilation and child marriages. This is necessary if women are to continue participating in governance, development and the democratic journey. Ms Rosa congratulated all women who courageously participated in the recent electoral process in Uganda especially the 173 women MPs who were elected out of the 529 members of Parliament.
Building on major strides that are contributing to the sustainable development goals 5 (SDG 5) -Gender Equality, the UN recognizes that expanding women's rights and participation across all levels of society during the 'new normal' of COVID 19 requires changing perceptions of masculinity . Through their actions, men can change social norms , behavior and general strengths perpetuate discrimination and inequality. There is need therefore for all men and boys to join the network and become champions for gender equality in their households and communities.
"While poverty exists, there is no true freedom" Nelson Mandela