International Day of Rural Women
UN Women Uganda celebrates the International rural women’s day 2017 with a call for financial inclusion
Date: Friday, December 15, 2017
UN Women Uganda joined the rest of the world to celebrate the International rural women’s day with a call to financial institutions(banks) to establish financial products that suits rural women farmers to enable them to save, borrow and insure. This will boost their productivity as well as widen the economic opportunities available to them.
The Deputy Country Representative Ms. Anna Mutavati, noted that although women contribute significantly to the agricultural sector and rural development, lack of access to financial services remains a serious constraint to their empowerment. Thus, making it essential to design appropriate financial products for women.
According to the World Bank, only 47 per cent of women worldwide have access to formal financial services, compared to 51 per cent of men. In Africa, this number increases to more than 70 per cent of women.
The event which took place in Gulu district, Northern Uganda saw thousands of rural women turning up for the celebrations. The event was characterized by marching, music dance and drama, speeches and exhibitions by rural women farmers, market women and financial institutions that wanted to extend their products /services to the rural women.
Ms. Mutavati noted that promoting access and the use of high quality financial services, particularly among poor people, is crucial in order to achieve inclusive growth.
“Women disproportionately face financial barriers that prevent them from participating in the economy and improving their lives. The case is worse in Gulu district, where women access to financial literacy services remain a challenge, “she said.
The Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Grace Kwiyucwiny attributed the stagnated poverty levels in Northern Uganda to men and youths who have abandoned their responsibilities and spend most of their time idling on road sides leaving women to carry the family burden.
“Northern Uganda is still poor because we left responsibilities to the woman. Every other man is on the roadside, the youths are on the roadside. The woman is in the market, garden and in the hospital. How can you produce a lot when you are everywhere? “she asked.
Kwiyucwiny warned men against turning women into slaves. “Let us be sympathetic to our mothers. The woman is known to be the weaker sex but the weaker sex is carrying the burden of the family, the nation and everybody. We cannot leave our mothers to be slaves when we are young and stronger than them,” she noted.
The minister also urged banking institutions to make loans accessible by reducing the interest rates.
“I know you have been supporting women by training them and sensitizing them but it is not enough. We have a challenge of accessibility. The money reaching a woman is not enough, and the interest is too high. we really have to do something,” She explained
Betty Atoo, a vender from Gulu Main market shared her experience of how her business has been struggling to grow due to lack of financial training and business management skills. For close to 10 years, Atoo has been selling cereals in the market. However, after going through financial literacy training by the UN Women Economic Empowerment programmed, she now manages her business well and can make rightful financial decisions.
The event was organized by UN Women in partnership with Landnet Uganda and Gulu District Local Government with funding for the Swedish Embassy.