Women’s Leadership and Democratic Governance

Women’s participation in leadership and decision making continues to be limited, yet it remains a top priority and a critical element for achieving gender equality. Only when women have full access to decision making positions will laws, policies, and budgets reflect the needs of all citizens and support women’s rights.

The Government of Uganda is signatory to several international, regional and has nation laws and policies that advance participation of women in public leadership. These include; the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR), 1325, Beijing platform of Actiona and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 1 and 3. At regional level, the government has rectified the African Charter on Human and People’s Right and the Maputo Protocol which focus on the rights of African women. At national level, the Uganda National Gender Policy, National Gender Action Plan, Decentralizational Act which is guided by the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy outlined in the 1995 Ugandan Constitution and affirmative action.All these internaional regional and national conventions and legistations, policies and plans are key in the promotion and protection in the rights of women particularly increasing effective leadership and participation in the democratic governance.

Strategic Objective 1: To enhance the capacities of women leaders at national and district levels to participate, engage and influence decision making structures and processes for gender responsive democratic governance

One of democracy’s major principles is human rights, which includes the political rights of women and men. Equitable participation of women in politics and all decision making positions is essential to building and sustaining democracy. Comprising over 51 percent of Uganda’s population, women continue to be under–represented as beneficiaries of government initiatives, voters, political leaders and elected officials. Democracy cannot truly deliver for all of its citizens if half of the population remains underrepresented in the political and development arena. For democratic governments to deliver to their constituents, they must be truly representative, gender responsive and recognize that women must be equal partners in the process of democratic development

Strategic Objective 2: To advocate for implementation and reform of laws and policies for increased women’s participation in leadership and democratic governance

Democratic governance is the hallmark of building viable and sustainable democratic systems in society. However, without citizen participation, democratic governance is neither achievable nor sustainable. The participation of women in democratic governance is an important element of building a democracy and ensuring open, transparent and accountable decision–making processes that take into account the interests of women and achieving gender equality

Strategic Objective 3: To strengthen capacity of civil society on social accountability and constitutionalism

The government of Uganda has implemented several initiatives aimed at strengthening the governance system in the country. Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 (as Amended) vests all power in the people of Uganda. The constitution outlines National Objectives and Directives Principles of State Policy which guides the democratization process, enhances the enjoyment of the freedom of association, which is fundamental to political freedom. The most significant implementation of the state policy was the enactment of the Political Parties and Organizations Act. This Act opened the way for citizens with varying political opinions to be able to express themselves in a multi–party system (political parties and organizations act 2002).