The Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah has asked representatives of the UN Women to align their agenda with the struggle to transform and uplift rural women, as opposed to high sounding statements without clear deliverables.
“How do we translate [these agendas] into practical things? I want impactful discussions about things that affect women, actions we can take. We should stop measuring things on the basis of how much money we have allocated, but rather we must do output accountability. What is the value? What impact has been made,”Oulanyah questioned.
The Speaker of Parliament was meeting with UN Women Uganda representatives led by Elizabeth Mushabe, who is also the Deputy Country representative.
Oulanyah urged the group to shift from speaking at high tables, conferences and floating figures that are in abstract with the realities on ground, saying instead there should be a deliberate push to make the agenda impactful to all women including the rural based ones.
Drawing parallels with President Museveni’s communication during celebrations to mark the International Labour Day, Oulanyah said benchmarks such as how many women no longer carry children on their backs, the ones liberated from fetching firewood and how many more children access school because the river barrier that blocked the road was resolved, should be adopted instead of statistics that are ungrounded.
“I want us to assess progress in real terms; these are the shifts I want to hear…come to me with pragmatic things, what we need to do to transform the women,” he said.
“In all this [women empowerment], we want to know that what works is what counts, we should make our work count for these people.”
Speaking in response, Mushabe hailed Parliament’s record in gender empowerment, but also made a case for stalled gender bills from the 10th Parliament that she sought for their revival.
“In the space of policy and legal development, several bills and policies have come to Parliament; some have progressed while others have stalled; it would be good if they were revived,” she said.
Oulanyah, in response, said there is a process to activate the bills.
The deputy UN Women country representative also promised to create, in collaboration with Parliament, a technical unit on gender responsiveness.
She said UN Women has over the years supported the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA).
Mushabe also made a case for the support that needs to be given to boost businesses run by women, which are suffering the snaps from the Covid-19 impact on the economy.
Oulanyah supported the idea of a technical unit, “especially if it is going to generate for us facts.”
He also informed the UN Women delegation that the House sitting today, September, 7 was going to debate the impact of covid-19.
“We are going to have a good debate; to consider a motion on lessons learnt from a socio-economic impact assessment of Covid-19 on tourism, trade and industry sector. This includes women’s businesses as well as those in the informal sector,” he said.