Women’s Economic Justice and Empowerment

UWONET believes that Women’s rights to access, control and own productive resources individually and collectively needs to be reinforced by policy, practice, and enabling environments. The structural, institutional and socio–cultural barriers that hinder women from this pursuit should be challenged through economic and legislative reforms intended to recognize that women have economic rights which entitles them to share and own not only the products of their labour but also to have control over decisions intended to transform them economically. Economic, financial, labour and agricultural policies, laws and regulations should be reviewed, reformed and implemented to enable women not only access but also own and control economic resources and attainment of economic justice. While it is recognized that women contribute over 70% of the labour in agriculture they benefit 30% and control only 7% of the land(Watkins, 2007).

Strategic Objective 1: Advocate for the implementation, review, and formulation of gender responsive trade policies, laws and regulations at national, regional and international level

UWONET believes that women’s participation and engagement to influence gender–responsive macro and micro economic planning and policy formulation and implementation is key to addressing the underlying causes of women’s economic marginalization at regional, national and local levels. Uganda is signatory to the various sub–regional economic initiatives such as the East Africa Community (EAC) and Common Market for East, Central and Southern Africa (COMESA) and as well as international Trade Protocols such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the interests of women should be part of the agenda.

Strategic Objective 2: Advocate for increased women’s access, ownership and control of economic resources

In Uganda, over 80% of the population lives in the rural areas and over 90% depend on agriculture, with women contributing 70% of the total labour force but owning only 7% of the land (Human Development Report, 2007). Although they contribute the bulk of the labour in agricultural production, women are discriminated against and denied ownership of the land resources which is the core of the rural economy. This tendency is re–enforced by the cultural and traditional practices which only emphasize males as heirs for their parents and husbands’ property and deny the girls and married women a share of the property on which they live and work.

Strategic Objective 3: Strengthen capacity of civil society to engage, influence and demand for gender responsive policies and guidelines for equitable national resource allocation, distribution and management

Although Uganda’s economy is reported to have grown at a rate of 6.5% per annum for the last twenty years, the growth has not translated into wealth creation to women. A Ministry of Finance Report 2007 noted that 80% of Uganda’s wealth is controlled by 20% of the population and only 20% of the wealth is left under the control of the 80% of the population. While the women contribute significantly to the country’s economic development, the benefits from distribution of economic resources do not reach women. UWONET believes that women are marginalized from economic resource distribution largely because they do not actively participate in decision making and lack the voice to influence the allocation of such resources.