Friday, 12 October 2012

Women in Ugandan society

Fifth article introducing you to culture and geography of Lake Bunyonyi.

All over Uganda, women are subordinated to men, despite the huge social and economic responsibilities that women have in many rural Ugandan communities. Women started to engage in politics in the years of independence, when they tried to obtain laws concerning marriage, divorce and inheritance, especially in regard to property rights and custody of children. But during the seventies and eighties, each small progress was destroyed by the violence which raged in the country. Social and economical degrade and the lapse of public services and infrastructures reduced access to schools, hospitals and markets, making life conditions for women even tougher than ever before.

In the last part of the eighties, Museveni’s government worked to eliminate gender discriminations in politics and official practices. The number of women in parliament has increased and since 1976 the Ugandan Association of Women Lawyers is providing legal services to women defending their rights in case of divorce, separation and widowhood.

However, in rural communities with low access to education, very few progresses have been made towards equal rights. Land is vital in the culture of local communities as they get from it their entire livelihood. But traditional roles have completed transformed in the last decades. Men have no more bushes to clean nor huts to build. As a consequence, it is women who interact with the land on a daily basis, while majority of men is unemployed and not taking responsibility for the care of the children.

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