Despite historic legacies of political upheavals and violent conflicts, Uganda has enjoyed relative peace and stability since 2006, with the reinstatement of multi-party democracy, a strong constitution that protects women’s human rights, and an end to conflict in Northern Uganda.
While Uganda has experiences sustained economic growth of 7% per annum and poverty had reduced significantly over the last twenty years, this growth has not been inclusive as Uganda still faces gender inequalities and regional disparities and marginalization.
The Government of Uganda has made significant progress in developing legal frameworks, policies and programmes to protect women’s human rights and advance gender equality. For instance, the Uganda Constitution prohibits laws, customs or traditions that are against the dignity, welfare and interest of women. The Constitution protects an affirmative action policy that has enabled major progress in women’s representation in government, with women holding over a third of senior ministerial positions.
Despite these commendable efforts, women in Uganda still face discrimination and marginalization due to slow change in attitudes about women in Ugandan society and the culture and practices of public institutions. Also, several key legal reform efforts have been pending for decades in relation to family laws and those relating to sexual offences against women and children. There are deep-rooted cultural and traditional practices that discriminate against women and girls and customary practices in many parts of Uganda that discriminate in cases of succession and inheritance that limit women’s access to land, finances and property.
Violence against women remains a major obstacle to the empowerment of women, with a 2011 survey reporting 56% of women aged 15 to 49 had experience physical violence at least once since age 15.
Women lead and participate in decision making at all levels
With the Regional Leadership and Governance Centre at Kenyatta University, we offer training to women to strengthen their leadership capabilities. UN Women Uganda is establishing a strategic partnership with the Democratic Governance Facility in Uganda. We also support a coalition of women leaders across the political spectrum to lobby and identify effective strategies for protecting women’s social, economic and political rights. We work with parliamentarians and women’s organizations to domesticate the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Women, especially the poorest and most excluded, are economically empowered and benefit from development
We are fostering women’s participation in the economy through gender responsive policy and programs, policy dialogues and advocacy to leverage resources, particularly through agriculture. The aim is to make women key players in wealth creation through agriculture. The programme will also focus on the emerging oil/gas sector with a focus on research and analysis. We are also developing a women’s economic empowerment strategy.
Women and girls lead a life free from violence
UN Women Uganda supports community-based dialogues aimed at changing social and cultural perceptions, attitudes and traditional practices that contribute to Violence Against Women and Girls (VAW/G). We support local government to develop by-laws and ordinances; ensure implementation of relevant national laws on ending VAW/G; support the Uganda Police Force to effectively handle VAW/G cases and support the provision of legal aid services to vulnerable women. We support training for law enforcement staff on gender rights, case management and handling of victims, and also advocate for removing barriers to access to justice.
Peace, security and humanitarian action are shaped by women’s leadership and participation
We work with key national justice institutions to create an environment that promotes transitional justice processes that reflect victim’s needs, incorporate gender concerns and conform to human rights standards and international best practice. UN Women Uganda works with civil society organizations to ensure they play a greater role in peace building processes, transitional justice processes, security sector reform, post-conflict governance and national action plans on women, peace and security. We have identified a need to strengthen gender mainstreaming in humanitarian responses to issues such as the influx on South Sudanese refugees in Northern Uganda and will work towards this through providing technical support and a gender and humanitarian analyst.
Governance and national planning fully reflect accountability for gender equality commitments and priorities
UN Women Uganda supports the mainstreaming of gender at a national level through partnerships and collaborations. The strategy will take stock of policies, planning, budgeting and performance monitoring processes and frameworks and also develop guiding frameworks for including gender issues in planning, budgeting and performance monitoring.