Poverty, domestic violence and sexual harassment are the major factors that are not only affecting but also limiting women in the Northern part of Uganda from effectively participating in politics, the National Youth Councilors Chairperson, Gloria Aduko, has said.
“It is really so challenging because of the issue of money. 99% of people in the communities are young people and the majority are unemployed. The negative impact of COVID-19 has also worsened the situation, now everybody you meet, as a politician, expects something from you with a minimum of a bottle of water,” she said.
Aduko said this has not only crippled youth politicians economically but also subjected a number of female youth aspirants to sexual harassment in their search for fame, votes and campaign funds.
“Previously when rallies were being held, we could use the opportunities of those who have contested in bigger positions to also address our issues to the youth but today, it’s a one man show, which doesn’t favour the upcoming individuals who have neither money nor name,” she added.
Aduko was exclusively speaking to ChimpReports shortly after a one day training that attracted women in politics and the media that was organized by the Uganda Media Women’s Association (UMWA) in Kampala on Monday.
She further noted that domestic violence has affected women especially those married and are pursuing a political career.
“In the Northern Region, it is worse. For example, while looking for the votes, you may leave in the morning and return at around 6:00 pm, and that’s the time for doing general duties like cooking, washing and if you come late, you may end up not cooking for your husband and this will result into fights at home,” she said.
Aduko urged the community to accept, understand and respect women in politics, create space for them to engage in and have a say in the decision making processes at the various leadership levels.
“Right now when you see the issues challenging women, they are so many and painful, we should create space for them to come and work on issues like early marriages which are so rampant in the North, teenage pregnancies and child labor in the communities. So my message to women is to wake up and jealously take up leadership positions other than just sitting behind and crying out,” she noted.
The one day engagement was organized to assess the degree at which media and women in politics had created a bond after the first two separate trainings, which were organized two months ago.
Lawrence Kalanzi, the Chief facilitator of the training encouraged female politicians to always use the media in their campaigns irrespective of the small positions they may be contesting for.
“If you are doing a community project, invite the media, they will surely come. No journalist can leave a good story to tell,” he said.
Clothilda Babirekere, the UMWA project officer on Gender said that when the media highlights some of the issues challenging women in the societies, it will boost their self-esteem especially in joining active politics.