Activists push for gender mainstreaming in making public policies

What you need to know:

  • Failure to include gender as a key role in public and social policy making is a risk to losing the diverse views, experiences and realities of individuals.

Activists are urging government to consider gender in public policy making to realise economic transformation and social sustainability.

The need for mainstreaming gender into public policy making was widely explored during a policy dialogue at Makerere University on May 21.

Ms Safia Nalule Jjuuko, the Chairperson Equal Opportunities Commission, said government should prioritize gender mainstreaming during Social and public policy enactment for Ugandans to benefit from government projects.

“Gender is not limited to male or female. It includes different categories of people in societies like the disabled, poor, and all government institutions should look into all these to properly plan for Ugandans, through enacting policies that work in the best interest of citizens," Ms Nalule said.

She added that government can properly plan for people if it knows specific details and interests of the various groups in the country. 

Dr Joseph Muvawala, the Prime Minister for Busoga Kingdom who doubles as the Executive Director of National Planning Authority, said that gender should be considered as a fundamental anchor that underpins all endeavors to achieve the goals of social and public policy for a sustainable society. 

“Institutions should have units for gender mainstreaming to address societal challenges,” Dr Muvawala said.

He added that societal disparities should consider gender as a development agenda.

“When it comes to employment, we look at it from a gender perspective, and it tells a lot about societal progress.’

He added: “Failure to include gender as a key role in public and social policy making is a risk to losing the diverse ends, experiences and realities of individuals across the spectrum.”

He lauded Makerere for calling the dialogue and said gender exclusion limits the ability to address complex society challenges comprehensively.

Dr Anna Ninsiima from the School of Women and Gender Studies at Makerere University said the enemy of gender equality is the institutional failure to provide good quality services.

“We need good quality services but not forgetting the gender dynamics. Girls for example are dropping out of school because they don’t have sanitary towels they use,” Dr Ninsiima said.

She also called for the need to translate policies into actions saying most of the policies are left on paper.

The dialogue also addressed concerns of Gender Based Violence (GBV)as another key area for gender mainstreaming to succeed.

Representing Uganda Police Force, SSP Irene Adibaa said domestic violence is mostly reported by women because they have a duty of direct care of children compared to men.

SSP Adibaa said men usually report to police when the situation is out of hand.

“Some women are the trouble in their own homes that is why we register high cases of money linked to domestic violence,” she said.

She asked men to rise up and support the fight against gender based violence for peaceful homes and the society.

“We have started recruiting men in the Child and Family Protection Unit to also talk to their fellow men because they are not open to us, the women, ” SSP Adibaa said.

According to the Police Crime Report of 2023, 14,681 cases of domestic violence were reported to police countrywide. And by the end of 2023, 1,520 cases were taken to court, out of which, 10,792 were female adults, 3,243 were male adults whereas 505 were male juveniles and 644 female juveniles.

In the same line, 242 cases of murder as a result of domestic violence were reported to police countrywide. And out of these cases, 122 cases were taken to court, 16 cases were not proceeded with while 104 cases are still under inquiry.

Police crime report indicates that North Kyoga registered the highest number as a result of domestic violence followed by Aswa and Rwizi regions with 28 cases each.

Prof Eria Hisali, the Principal of the College of Business and Management Sciences, said steps have been taken and laws enacted by the parliament to ensure the country’s policy making is inclusive.