Time is Now: Rural And Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives

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By Shamira Murungi

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their communities and countries.

This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality, and justice. Sexual harassment, violence, and discrimination against women have captured headlines and public discourse, propelled by a rising determination for change.

In rural and suburban areas, Ugandan women take up responsibilities that are related to both household and money-making for sustenance. They naturally do daily chores, sometimes with help from their children. Also, women engage in cultivation work and water-fetching both of which require long hours of walking to and from the farms or the wells.

The gender position of women in Uganda is often considered inferior to those of men. Ugandan women have significant financial and societal errands across many societies of Uganda.

Although some positive strides have been made, domestic violence and sexual assault are still widespread here. And in most cases, poverty is concurrent with the presence of domestic violence. In fact, cases of violence are more common with women plagued in poverty. Estimates say that more than 50% of Ugandan women have endured domestic violence at the hands of their partners.

Furthermore, traditional customs among the Ugandan people contradict the country’s laws against bigotry and violence towards women. Enforcement of the laws is sloppy, and the inherent patriarchal traditions are abiding. Even though many recent laws were enacted to curb domestic violence, it has helped very little to change women’s state of affairs.

International Women’s Day 2018 is an opportunity to transform this momentum into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights to realize their full potential.

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