One of the methods to guarantee gender equality in all sectors of life is for the Ugandan government to ensure that girls and women are involved in a number of decision-making processes for the country.
Three Dutch-funded organizations, including Power to Youth Uganda, She Leads, and We Lead, told media on Thursday that there have been no purposeful attempts to ensure that women and girls participate in crucial decision-making processes, particularly those that affect them.
“This is related to patriarchal norms and culture, power relations, myths and attitudes on sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender-based violence, and HIV, all of which affect girls and young women.”
“Worsening social, political, cultural, and economic demographic indices compound these vulnerabilities,” said Dianah Nanyange, the Program Coordinator for Power to Youth.
High school dropout rates for girls and young women, as well as limited and unequal access to gender sensitive service delivery, were among the demographic characteristics she mentioned.
“In general, attitudes toward young women expressing their views are not conducive because they are deemed incapable of contributing to discussions and decisions, and as a result, their needs and demands are frequently ignored by duty bearers within their families and communities, as well as at all levels of government.”
She did observe, however, that where real participatory efforts have been implemented, the benefits of allowing young women’s voices to be heard have been evident.
The denial and limited measures in addressing issues impacting girls and young women, according to Nanyange, obstruct the attainment of the national development agenda and global goals.
The three civil society organizations urged the government to invest in adolescent girls and young women in all aspects of their development, including strategic investments in health, education, and social protection programs, as well as creating an environment that promotes sexuality education and sexual reproductive health.
“To address the challenges in accessing these services, there is a need to prioritize increased coverage and access to age-appropriate, scientifically accurate, inclusive sexuality education and friendly sexual reproductive health services for all girls and boys,” Dianah Nanyange, the Programme Coordinator for Power to Youth, urged.
“Programs that keep children, particularly girls, in school and ensure that schools are secure and equitable learning environments and channels through which girls’ decision-making potentials can be cultivated” are also needed.
Government must ensure the enforcement of legislation to eradicate harmful social norms such as child marriages and female genital mutilation, according to Ngelecha Linda, a female youth from Karamoja, as well as strengthen child protection systems and promote development programs that strengthen norms and standards that eliminate discrimination based on gender, age, socioeconomic status, and disabilities.