Women leaders have asked the New Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah to advocate and support the interests of women in parliament.
The Soroti District Woman MP, Anna Adeke, says that women were blessed to have a Speaker in the 10th Parliament (Rebecca Kadaga) who was emphasizing gender and equity. Adeke says that she is looking forward to the new leadership that she hopes will maintain the same.
The leaders were speaking at the launch of a report, ‘Budgeting for Peace’ that was commissioned by the Forum for Women in Development, FOWODE, in which low funding towards the fight against gender-based violence, was blamed for the increase in the cases.
According to the study, violence in many cases leads to poverty, directly or indirectly.
The study for example shows that many girls that left their homes due to violence dropped out of school while others were married off.
Adeke says the domination of the male gender in legislation, as well as the quality of the Members of Parliament, affect the legislation on gender violence issues. She cited the removal of the close on consent to sex in the Sexual Offences Bill, reasoning that the men were being selfish.
The report also highlighted that even in households, the presence or the fear of falling a victim to violence affects the ability of the members to effectively engage in productive activities.
Former Ethics and Integrity Minister, Miria Matembe said the MPs, irrespective of gender should stop thinking about themselves when legislating for the whole nation.
“Self-centeredness of our MPs today is killing our mission and vision as the women movement. When I was still Woman MP for Mbarara, some people threatened not to vote for me because I had brought FIDA to Mbarara,” she said.
Evelyn Letiyo, the UN Specialist on Ending Gender-based Violence says there is a lack of trust between partners, especially regarding finances. She says that women fear that the men will want to influence how the money is put to use.
The commissioner for Gender and Women Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Community Development, Angella Nakafeero, said all is not lost but that perhaps some programs either lose steam or are forgotten by the public even when they are active.
She revealed that they are pushing for the establishment of a special court dedicated to gender-based violence and related issues, as opposed to the current system where such cases are handled by special sessions.