Twineamatsiko Clare is a 26-year-old Ugandan, I am a social worker by profession Currently, works for the Ministry of water and environment, through field work in the communities, where she conducts sensitization and awareness raising to communities on water and sanitation especially women and girls and also we engage local stakeholders on gender equality in the water sector.
Her passion is management of household water supply, sanitation and health among others. Because of their dependence on water resources, women have accumulated considerable knowledge about water resources, including location, quality and storage methods. This, therefore, makes it very important to ensure women’s participation and involvement in water-related development efforts.
What do you think are major challenges for women and girls in Uganda?
In Uganda, women and girls are faced with a number of challenges including negative and regressive attitudes and perceptions towards women in our communities, women are not valued and that is why when a woman contests with men, she is not voted for simply because she is a woman.In many instances, our opinions are undermined especially if the women are not educated and of which most women live in the village where few are educated. Example leadership levels in the village, very few women can be directly elected as local chairperson or councillors. Additionally, legalisation of polygamy in countries such as Kenya is so regressive to the rights of women.
From your experience of growing up as a girl child Uganda, what do you make of the challenges/problems of women and girls in your community?
Most of our families have less focus on girls, there isn’t much focus on girl children compared to boy children. forced and early marriage and poverty which makes girls prone to being married off at an early age. Some families look at girls as a source of income, they are traded off for bride wealth against their will, some of them have lost their future, schooling years and a better life to lead. Although this may be improving in some of our communities, it is pathetic in rural areas, where it is challenging for women for example to own/inherit land from their fathers. The reason given is that girls will be married off. Personally, my father never gave chances to his daughters in his will, he left all the property to my brothers despite girl children being more than the boys. I learnt the hard way but still managed to focus in life, with the support of my mother who ensured we studied and completed school.
What do you think can be done to address the negative attitudes towards women?
In my opinion, I believe that women should be given the same opportunity as men and here are some of my thought in addressing the aforementioned challenges;
On the level of education and professionalism, one of the main issues I observed to have been discussed during the YALINETWORK virtual town hall conversation was on the attitudes of men and society towards women who have been successful in their education and now working and doing business. There is still disregard of women engaging in certain kinds of jobs and managerial positions. To me, women must be empowered to believe in themselves that they can achieve even much more than the men.
I have another intriguing point where women/girls with money have been looked at as ‘threats’ to men, their level of success and independence is not yet valued, which is something that we ought to address.I would also bring this one example among the bagisu, it’s the women to make and give it to the money to go and take alcohol reason being if your husband doesn’t go for evening local beer such a woman is regarded as lazy and unable to keep her family, now to me that is totally bad that money would be used to educate a child in that family to reduce illiteracy but it’s not the same as I think because the man deprives the woman of her rights to use her earned money for better things like buying salt, soap or other basic needs.
Compiled by Cinderella Anena,