International Women’s Day

Women Economic Empowerment is the key to prosperity

Date: Monday, March 26, 2018

Thousands of women and men turned up for the national celebrations to mark the International Women’s Day 2018. The event took place at Busuubizi Core Primary Teacher’s college in Mityana District and was presided over by the President of Uganda H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

During the celebrations, President Museveni emphasized the need for empowering women and girls to become economically independent to enable them to create their own wealth instead of waiting for inheritance from their parents and deceased husbands. “Wealth is not only created through inheritance. We want to empower women to make their own wealth. If women and girls are not economically and academically empowered, they become slaves of their husbands,” President Museveni noted.

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President Y.K Museveni with women after receiving their medal at IWD 2018 celebrations Photo: UN Women/ Aidah Nanyonjo

President Museveni attributed the increasing cases of domestic violence to lack of economic empowerment by women. “Most women don’t report violent and abusive husbands due to fear to be chased from their matrimonial homes and live a life of hopelessness and economic desperation. An educated and economically empowered mind, will free a woman from an abusive spouse,” he said.

Mr. Museveni said that the Government plans to allocate more funds to the Economic Empowerment programmes for the women, youth and the elderly as a way of empowering women to create their own wealth.

At least 43,000 women have already accessed funding from the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP), an initiative that was launched in 2015 to improve women’s access to financial services, equipping them with the skills for enterprise growth, value addition and marketing of their products and services among others. Under this initiative, women are availed with interest-free revolving credit to initiate or strengthen their enterprises.

Access to markets

The president also visited and interacted with women exhibitors at the venue and pledged to support them to improve their products.

To increase women’s access to market, President Museveni revealed that the government has plans to implement two programmes; import substitution and export promotion. "If we empower women in small businesses like wine making, sanitary pads making, fruit juice extracts, we shall enhance import substitution, and enhance exports promotion," President Museveni said.

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President Y.K Museveni hands over a dummy check to a women group at IWD 2018 celebrations Photo: UN Women/ Aidah Nanyonjo

The Bishop of Kiyinda Mityana Diocese, Bishop Joseph Anthony Zziwa condemned all the injustices committed against women and pledged his commitment to make women free from social and economic injustices. “Prejudice, murder, discrimination, stigma, early marriages and forced labor should not be part of our society,” Bishop Joseph Anthony Zziwa said.

The UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Rosa Malango who spoke on behalf of the UN Agencies in Uganda called on men and boys to champion the campaign to promote gender equality and empowerment of women.

Ms. Malango added, “Without women, we cannot achieve the SDGs. Let us commit every day to be International Women’s Day. Let us individually and collectively pledge to promote and protect the rights of women and girls so that they are able to live a life free of violence and discrimination.”

The Acting Chairperson of the Uganda Women’s Council, Asamo Helen Grace applauded the government‘s interventions and policies on affirmative action in education and politics and programmes on Economic Empowerment. Asamo said programmes like Uganda Women Economic entrepreneurship Programme, Youth livelihood programme, operation wealth creation, SACCO, rural electrification and modern roads have uplifted the lives of 76% of Uganda’s population living in rural areas and the majority being women and girls.

She however decried of the prohibitive cost of power and connection fee which limits women’s access to and connection to the national power grid. Thus, affecting their productivity and development.

UN Women field offices also joined Women’s Day celebrations organized by the local governments in Amudat and Gulu Districts respectively.