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Gender Equality is Not Aimed at Disrespecting Men – Winnie Kiiza

Oxfam Uganda with its partners, Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), has launched an anti violence campaign dubbed “Enough” aimed at changing the widely accepted and harmful social norms that tend to drive acts of violence against women and girls.

Speaking at the launch held at Mestil Hotel today November 5, 2020, Hon Winnie Kiiza, the Kasese woman MP noted that while people are pushing for gender equality, some men mistakenly think that women want to take over them and their social positions.

Hon Kiiza argued that God created man and woman equally in his own image, “which means that in his own view, he knew that none of us can live without the other. Genesis further explains that when Eve surfaced, Adam was excited and happy. Therefore, the two of them are supposed to be looked at as equals in a relationship; not that there’s a boss and a subordinate.”

“At times when we talk about gender equality, men take it differently. They always think we want to take their dignity and respect; which is wrong. However, when there is equality, there is happiness and joint planning in a family,” she explained.

The former Leader of Opposition noted that some cultural beliefs and practices have for long under-looked women and taken them to be a form of property instead of humans, but now is the time for women to know that they were created in the image of God and therefore need to be treated with dignity.

“I would like to thank UWONET and Oxfam for launching the Enough campaign because I know enough is really enough. The way we have been treating the girls and women; discriminating against them and too much violence committed against them is enough,” she said.

Some of the participants at the ‘Enough’ campaign launch.

She also stressed that parliament has done a great role in ensuring gender equality with bodies such as the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association and many others that have pushed for gender equality, fought domestic violence and Gender Based Violence.

“Children should be taught the values of respecting humanity and according each person the dignity that they deserve. The girl child should be given opportunities, leadership positions because they are capable,” Kiiza said.

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Rita Aciro Lakor, Executive Director UWONET said that violence is an anti-social behaviour but the lines quickly become buried when it happens to a female.

She said that at the start of the pandemic between 30th March to 28th April, 3,280 cases of GBV were reported to the Uganda Police.

“This stemmed from conflict over norms related to decision making, providing for a family’s needs, sexual and conjugal relations and gender roles,” she said.

She also said that as a country, we are increasingly normalizing negative social norms that undermine women and exposing them to violence and that this is in our tolerance of trends that strip women of dignity.

“This campaign is a call to action of us to recognize and celebrate positive norms which are abundant in our culture, religion, professions, business and in all spheres. Let us give these prominence, it will change the existing narrative on the protection and promotion of women which is commonly misconstrued as intended to disempower men,” she said.

Francis Odokorach, country director Oxfam Uganda, said that due to the many reports that have shown high cases of violence against women and girls, the Enough campaign was inevitable.

“We believe that the causes of violence against women and girls have had a long history of inequality between men and women such as unequal power relations, distributions of resources and opportunities,” he said.

Odokorach further noted that they are working towards alternative norms that reserve society values without promoting, accommodating or tolerating violence against women and girls.

He called upon partners, individuals, government and the private sector, political parties to prevent violence especially during this election period.

“I ask us to challenge ourselves and be bold and lead the fight against violence against women and girls,” he concluded.

 

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