The women’s movement in Uganda will tomorrow meet to discuss development issues affecting women ahead of 2016 general elections.
Patricia Munabi Babiiha, the Executive Director Forum for Women in Democracy, states that the meeting will among others assess the progress that has been made in implementing “Equal by right: The Uganda Women’s Agenda” in a bid to ensure women remain at the centre come 2016.
The meeting precedes four regional meetings in which FOWODE says health and education have been top on the demands of women in Uganda.
Babiiha says if the critical issues affecting women are not dealt with they will continue having an effect on the economy and development of the country.
The other issues also identified as pivotal in women’s development include democracy and governance, economic empowerment, human rights and the law and peace and security.
Lina Zedriga, the Vice Chairperson Forum for Women in Democracy, notes that being a woman in Uganda remains a challenge with girls and women languishing at the bottom of most social development indicators. They cite the number of women dying while giving birth which has increased from 16 to 20 each day according to UN population agency, the UNFPA.
Other disturbing facts include the primary school completion rate for girls which stands at 51 percent currently, and the female HIV/AIDS prevalence rates for 15-19 year olds which increased from 2.6 percent in 2006 to 3 percent in 2011.
Among the 20-24 year olds, HIV prevalence has increased to 7.1 percent from 6.8 percent, while Gender based violence remains high in Uganda for women from the age of 15.
Sophie Kyagulanyi, a program manager at FOWODE, also reveals that they shall launch a study on women in leadership positions considering there is still a low number of appointments of women in decision making positions.
The conference to be opened by Margaret Zziwa, the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, and a guest speaker from Sierra Leone, will gather women legislators at both national and local levels. It will also include women in political parties, public administration, women’s rights defenders and religious circles among others.