What you need to know:
- Activists say community challenges such as defilement and rape result in early pregnancies, making it hard for girls to access university education
Gender experts, activists and scholars were on Wednesday filled with joy when the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, revealed that the number of female students at the public institution had increased from 15 percent 25 years ago to 51 percent today.
Prof Nawangwe also said the number of female academia has increased from a mere 5 percent to 35 percent. In addition, three of the 9 college principals at the university are women.
The vice chancellor revealed this at a three-day International Conference on Gender Studies in Africa held at the university on Wednesday. The conference was held under the theme, ‘Africa and Gender Studies; Celebrating 30 years of Transformation and Re-imagining the Future.’
“We must be the example that society needs by promoting the needs and aspirations of girls and boys, women and men. I congratulate the School of Women and Gender Studies for its tireless efforts towards achieving gender equality,” he said.
Activists say community challenges such as defilement and rape result in early pregnancies, making it hard for girls to access university education.
Speaking at the opening of the conference, the First Lady and minister of Education and Sports, Ms Janet Museveni, stressed the need to address issues of gender inequality and poverty in a sustainable way.
In her speech read for her virtually by Vice President Jessica Alupo, Ms Museveni also commended the government for championing gender mainstreaming at all levels.
She also credited Makerere University for mainstreaming several gender sensitive reforms such as gender budgeting and affirmative action, among others.
Prof Amina Mama from the Institute of African Studies at University of Ghana, said colonialism dehumanised men and doubly dehumanised women.
Prof Mama said Makerere University’s first motto, which was ‘Let us All be Men,’ was colonial and did not consider African men as men.
“African men were not seen as men. They were seen as animals by white people. Now that men are men, women should also be women,” she said.
Pastor Martin Ssempa expressed concern about the neglect of boys in gender related campaigns.
The setup of the that was applauded at the end of the of the conference was Kasana Events a Youth Centric Company focused on bringing events and awareness to issues that affect Uganda’s youth today.