Time is Now: Rural And Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives

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By Shamira Murungi

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress
made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by
ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their communities
and countries.

This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of
unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality, and justice. Sexual harassment, violence, and discrimination against women have captured headlines and public discourse,
propelled by a rising determination for change.

In rural and
suburban areas, Ugandan women take up responsibilities that are related to both
household and money-making for sustenance. They
naturally do daily chores, sometimes with help from their children. Also, women engage in cultivation work and
water-fetching both of which require long hours of walking to and from the
farms or the wells.

The gender
position of women in Uganda is often considered inferior to those of men.
Ugandan women have significant financial and societal errands across many
societies of Uganda.

Although
some positive strides have been made,
domestic violence and sexual assault are still widespread
here. And in most cases, poverty is
concurrent with the presence of domestic violence. In fact, cases of violence
are more
common with women plagued in poverty. Estimates say that more than
50% of Ugandan women have endured domestic violence
at the hands of their partners.

Furthermore, traditional
customs among the Ugandan people contradict the country’s laws against bigotry
and violence towards women. Enforcement of the laws
is sloppy, and the inherent patriarchal traditions are abiding.
Even though many recent laws were enacted to curb domestic violence, it has
helped very little to change women’s state of affairs.

International
Women’s Day 2018
 is an opportunity to transform this momentum
into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate
the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights to realize
their full potential.

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