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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Can we attain Gender Equality under current #Uganda circumstances?


Honestly I don't know but being that we are never short of dreamers and dreams, we can say yes we can for the sake of not killing the beat.
Without international exposure to boast of I have reclined myself to the local perspective whenever I try to imagine our future prospects and I will start with a story from the next door.
In the year 2012 when Yahya Gidudu (not real names) got his first job, he thought that it was indeed an answer to his dream of lending a hand to disadvantaged girls in his village who are never a priority to some parents for academic advancement. He therefore picked 2 orphans from the neighborhood whose academics had hit a snag a year after their father's demise. In his plans he had thought to spend 100,000 for both girls per term was not a big deal so long as it kick-starts him on his line of ambition.
One year later Mary one of the girls conceived and to Yahya that was the end of her academic journey. It was a big blow and he could not come to terms with the fact that an orphaned girl could thus throw away such an opportunity.
It is upon this background that we should base our judgement when trying to achieve the myth that is gender Equality. Equality shall not be attained by appointing more female ministers than their male counterparts or having 200 female MPs in a house of 400 legislators.
If we are to attain Gender Equality we should focus more on these girls at the foundational level not those at the apex. What we see now is merely gender sensitivity where we are trying to be seen to be working towards attaining Equality but time will judge us and reality shall be that we have not made much progress.
Yahya continues supporting Mary's sister but just like day follows night, alas she also conceives in Senior 3. It was a turning point for Yahya because he could not see any way girls are going to compete with their male counterparts with such a stumbling block. It was then that thoughts came to his mind;
Maybe abortion should be legalized, maybe we should distribute contraceptive pills to girls and before we even think of giving computers to secondary students, we should meanwhile give them condoms.
Yahya could have shared these ideas but then his religion, virtues and values could not allow.
In the midst of these chaotic thoughts, he wondered how many girls drop out of school everyday while their male counterparts sail through comfortably despite the fact that their sex drives at the adolescence remains the same.
It was at this moment that he thought he could call the headteacher. When he did call her, she allowed that Justine can continue with her studies till that time when she cannot.
After all there is some hope now, Yahya continued with his work. He could talk to Justine on Sunday and ask her to continue with school.
To be honest, I was myself exhilaratingly excited to learn that government policy requires schools to allow girls to attend school even when they conceive. The biggest hurdle this law faces is implementation where head teachers expel children knowing that the law enforcement shall not catch up with them. The girl also faces stigma from their mates and out of fear choose to drop out.
But Yahya was yet to be dealt another blow. When he went to meet the girl that Sunday, he was told that the family of the girl had been paid "fine" by the family of the boy responsible for the pregnancy.
Literally the girl had been sold off at a million and therefore she is a property of the buying family. To Yahya, his dream has been sold in exchange for a million.
Now tell me, where those two girls fit in the middle income economy? What next for Yahya? Should he take on another girl or choose a sure deal in a boy? Lastly, where does the woman MP fit in this true story?
When the movie ended, the curtains were pulled and all the characters exited the stage.
DENIS WABUYI

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