Views from Fiona: Focus on Gender and Trade
Innocent girl children in Uganda still suffer all nature of abuse.

Views from Fiona: Focus on Gender and Trade


It was agreed for the 8th WAMM to be hosted by Uganda at the 7th WAMM conference in Nadi, Fiji in June 2004.

By Fiona Abaasa
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First published: June 14, 2090


The Ugandan Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and other organizations tasked with hosting the 8th Women Affairs Ministerial Meeting (WAMM) made tremendous efforts in preparing for this event. This writer caught up with the nation's State Minister for Gender and Cultural affairs in her office at Simbamanyo building.


Drawing from the theme of the 8WAMM conference: Financing Gender Equality for development and democracy, Hon. Nakadama Isanga intimated to us that her ministry has key issues that it hoped to raise within the conference for discussion, top on the list being the high rate of HIV/AIDS prevalence in women, gender based violence, law participation, trade and gender.

It was agreed for the 8th WAMM to be hosted by Uganda at the 7th WAMM conference in Nadi, Fiji in June 2004. This was largely because of the great strides in empowering women and improved equality between women and men based on the affirmative action policy promoted by the Government of Uganda. Uganda's incessant fight against poverty, her continued policy to raise household incomes, etc have been mentioned among the reasons why the 8th WAMM came to Kampala.

In the interview with Hon. Nakadama, she stressed the fact that she wanted gender and trade to be the focus of the conference. Through financing gender equality activities, her wish was to see this conference discuss the role of women in business and how, they if they were helped in terms of finance, they can impact on fellow women and the economy. She pointed out the lack of skill by Ugandan women in starting up projects even if money is advanced to them. She also pointed out the lack of infrastructure, high tariffs on necessities, the lack of saving culture and the poor marketing strategies of products or lack of new markets exhibited by the affected women.

Whereas the emphasis of this ministerial meeting is based on finding ways of uplifting women, encouraging them to acquire education, careers and businesses, Hon. Nakadama was quick to point out that it should not be taken that this is done so as to leave out the men or the boy children. She stresses that the meeting focuses on gender equality for both sexes only that women get more attention being a group that has been marginalized for long and therefore require a head start in raising their incomes.

When women are affected, their children get affected too. Financing anti-HIV/AIDS programmes to address these gender inequalities is another focus of WAMM. When heads of families are taken away by the AIDS scourge, the widows and children are greatly affected, often throwing the family into turmoil. Therefore, there is need to discuss within the Commonwealth states how women can access drugs to prolong their lives and those of their children, enabling the women to look after their families. The 8th Women Affairs Ministerial Meeting discussed these and more challenges faced by women in a bid to generate solutions and ideas on how these issues can be solved. These solutions will be reviewed during the 9th WAMM, three years from now.

The 8th WAMM will forward the outcomes of their meeting to both the Finance Ministers Meeting[FMM] and the Heads of State meeting (CHOGM) for an action plan. Uganda is honored to host both meets here in Kampala in the same year and that goes to illustrate the strides made in promoting gender equality, good governance and women's rights in Uganda.

Hon Isanga Nakadama says that whereas issues to do with domestic violence, sexual harassment at the work place, behavioral change, sharing experiences from different cultures, etc were to be discussed alongside the main objectives of the meeting, she would like the meet to focus on trade in relation to women so as to empower women through aiding them to invest in the Ugandan economy. The 8th WAMM ought to provide a platform to deepen the debate on the current global debates around financing gender equality.

The 8th WAMM has been running from 11th to 14th June 2007 at Speke Resort and Conference Centre Munyonyo.

By Fiona Abaasa
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First published: June 14, 2090
Fiona Abaasa is a visitor of UGPulse.com.

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