The significant contribution of a woman to humanity predates history. Uganda is not exceptional to their immeasurable impact whose efforts go beyond giving birth to new life, to cultivating food for families, to taking care of the sick, to lifting the load of most domestic work and now in official responsibilities of public and community service contributing to national development.
Before colonialism, a woman was a mother at home, a cook, fetching firewood, washing clothes, cleaning the house and compound, disciplinarian for the children among the various un paid care work that immensely supported family and societal welfare. Women were more of home managers and not common in many community activities especially leadership. Another remarkable time in the history of our continent was the era of slavery and slave trade, whereas men were most victims to this inhuman practice, women played a huge role in single handedly taking care of the families and up bringing children that had been left without father heads.
Over time, Ugandan women have actively participated in revolutionary struggles, economic activities, Leadership, public service among others whose immense contribution has greatly impacted on Uganda today and the world at large.
During the various struggles to liberate this country notably the NRA liberation war of 1981 to 1986, the role of women can never be under estimated in regard to the eventual triumph and ushering in of the National Resistance Movement Government. Away from preparing food, washing utensils and many other invaluable care support work in the Luwero bushes, Women were active combatants and surely got to the frontline of the war where some lost lives and others survived.
On the occasion to mark the international Women’s day, the theme - “Empowering women through innovative approach to social protection; a prerequisite to inclusive and sustainable development” is not only timely but speaks to the historical role women have played and the need to further equip them with innovative skills for stable family and a progressive society.
There are various heroines from all walks of life that explain the peace and development our country enjoys to date. Notably among the women combatants that liberated this country include the highest ranking female officer in East and Central Africa, mother of the revolutionary struggle Lt. General Proscovia Nalweyiso, Gertrude Njuba, Jovia saleh, Winnie Byanyima, Hajat Janat Mukwaya, Capt Zizinga, Maama Kyama among others who have continued to render their selfless service to humanity. Most of them were still young but braved the rough bushes of Luwero triangle and liberated our motherland from tyranny and ruthless regimes.
Before and more so after the liberation war, women have played a key role in Uganda’s leadership in all the three arms of government. Female participation has never declined but rising to un imaginable levels both in representation and mastery of advocacy on issues affecting fellow women and the country at large. Female legislators have not only risen in numbers but also effective quality participation in house debates and leadership from local government leaders, members of parliament, chairpersons of committees, caucuses, chief whips, leaders of opposition, commissioners of parliament, deputy speaker and speaker of parliament. In other words, female leaders have not only mastered the art of legislation but also occupied almost all responsibilities of the legislative arm of government.
Women have effectively served in the various responsibilities in the judiciary and legal fraternity as a whole. We have had lady Justices, judges, magistrates, lawyers among other key roles on merit hence celebrating the immense fruits of girl child education.
From the executive arm of government, we have had the first female vice president H.E Dr. Specioza Wandera Kazibwe, under the NRM government, female heads of ministries, departments and agencies of government, female heads and administrators of political parties including the Secretary General and National Treasurer of the ruling National Resistance Movement party being women.
Women in business have fundamentally contributed to our economy at all levels evident in market places, banks, arcades, commercial farmers, agro processors an many more economic ventures spearheaded by the empowered women of Uganda.
Indeed, the NRM revolution was not a mere change of guard but a fundamental in the lives of the women of Uganda and mothers of our Nation.
Namayanja Rose Nsereko.