Is Affirmative Action Enough?

Agaba Tabitha

Agaba Tabitha

, News

The Public Policy initiative presented a paper on the trends, blockades and possible alternatives to increase women’s participation in politics.

The paper titled the efficacy of affirmative action and Women’s Political Empowerment in Uganda was presented by the programme officer Winnie Watera and a panel discussion followed shortly after the presentation.

The paper which discussed the presence of women in parliament without adequate power to address issues affecting women also looked at dismantling systems that favor men over women in power.

The panel which was comprised of Mitooma Woman Member of Parliament Jovia Kamateeka, Milly Mugyenyi and Forum for Democratic Change Vice President Eastern Region Salaamu Musumba and Professor Julius Kizza a lecturer at the Makerere school of Political Science.

The discussion which looked at issues hindering the full participation of women in politics also questioned the efforts of affirmative action in addressing this issue. Mainly delivered from the paper presented.

Mugengyi ‘s view on affirmative action was that a lot had been achieved and as such it should be applauded.  However   Prof. Kizza noted that whereas affirmative action had worked on something, a lot more needed to be done in order to address the power imbalance in politics.

Musumba a seasoned politician agreed with Prof. Kizza stating that often times she judged by her sex rather than her work.

“I am not a woman until I am reminded that I am one. I am a person. A human being,” Musumba said.

She also said that as a woman member of parliament the men expected her to kneel and greet them and she often had to remind them that she was the chairperson.

In his parting shots, Prof. Kizza said that more needs to be added to the conversation especially on how to coordinate the voices rallying for women’s involvement in politics? And have issue based conversations, like the number of women in STEM.  Prof.Kizza said that it is important for the ratio of men and women representation to be balanced and for example have one man one woman representative per district to address the political imbalance.

Hon. Mugenyi noted that leadership is competitive and men must understand the women’s agenda to come on board. She urged both men and women in politics not to forget their duties at home and in their societies.

In the 2016 elections the number of women nominated for the general positions per party NRM – 24, FDC – 4, DP – 7 and UPC -0.

This discussion comes at time when, earlier in the year, the Bugangaizi East County MP Onesimus Twinamasiko made a comment that beating women is very okay and in fact it is a way of disciplining women. He also said that it was okay for his sister or daughter to go through the same.

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