Angelica Adekemi, the United Nations (UN) Women, Uganda Deputy Country Representative has revealed that women in Uganda need more training on understanding their values and roles in the development of the country to enable them join and actively participate in politics which is currently dominated by men in Uganda.
Adekemi said that women need to be well equipped to understand what their role is and how to play that role in contributing to development.
“Women must understand what it entails to face the odds out there on the political terrain. This is more challenging because of access to resources,” she said.
Adekemi made these remarks while participating in the two days National E-Conference for Women Candidates which was organized by UN Women and televised live on NBS TV on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
The conference was themed “Advancing women participation in politics and aiming at devising means on how gender imbalances can be solved in Ugandan politics”.
“Focusing more on women means that they have been left behind in the development process. Our role as UN Women is to help equip them with skills so that they are not left behind,” she explained.
She said that once women understand their roles in the society, it shall wake them up to contest for bigger positions in politics.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former President of Liberia who was one of the panelists encouraged women to contest in different leadership positions even when the COVID-19 pandemic is pausing a great threat and another limitation more especially to them.
“How do you get your message out? This all seems discouraging, but I want to let you know that these obstacles can be defeated. You can rise to get your dreams,” she said.
Commenting on the scientific elections, Sirleaf said, “we are social people; we need to interact with those who seek to lead us. How does one become known if gatherings are limited to small numbers?”
“I only wish that I could be in the same room feeling the same energy and hopes of those who have decided to run for seats next year or still considering the possibility,” she added.
Sirleaf said that women face a couple of challenges due to lack of resources which results into; resistance from their partners, sexual exploitation, and perhaps, the lack of support from other women.
“Society mindset has continued to exclude women from participation in politics because the society believes that they cannot contribute to it,” she explained.
She advised women who intend to join politics, to have a clear communication strategy, and well-organized resource base to avoid exploitation.
“You have to think strategically starting with the lifetime you share with your family before you begin convincing the masses. Understand your eligible voters, registered voters and the voter turn up,” she cautioned.