Women’s day (IWD) on Monday 8th of March 2021. On this day, all state and non-state actors take stock of their activities in promoting Gender Equity and Empowerment of Women which is SDG5, and lay strategies for future actions.
The global theme for this year is “Women in leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.” The theme celebrates the efforts by women in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peace Regis Mutuuzo the Minister of State for Gender and Culture says the theme selected for the national celebration is “Building on Women’s Strength for a Better Future in a COVID-19 World.”
She noted that it is over one year since COVID -19 was declared a global pandemic and a public health crisis; it has been associated with strict lockdown measures to protect our right to life despite the several challenges we have encountered and are still encountering.
“This year’s theme highlights the effects of COVID 19 on women and girls and also seeks to generate a national dialogue on the urgent need for a gender responsive National COVID- 19 Response Plan to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on women and all communities in Uganda. The theme equally highlights the role and contribution of women in the efforts to manage and also recover from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic” the Minister says.
She told the press at Uganda Media Centre on Friday morning that Government is now focused on building the Country’s capacity to cope with consequences of the pandemic as a priority strategy and intervention. Women are at the center of this process and this year’s International
“Women’s Day is dedicated to reaching out to the women of Uganda with a call to demonstrate their resilience and contribute effectively to the national efforts for recovery. In this regard, GoU developed and has is implementing the National Preparedness and Response Plan whose goal is to provide a framework for coordination and control of COVID-19 by reduction of importation, transmission, morbidity and mortality in a bid to minimize the social economic disruption that might result from this outbreak” she added.
COVID 19 has escalated cases of sexual and gender-based violence in Uganda: According to a Survey undertaken by the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) in 2020, a total of 16,242 cases of gender-based violence (GBV) were reported to the Uganda Police for the period January-June 2020; 46.8% were cases of domestic violence; 43.2% were cases of defilement and 5.6% were cases of rape. A total of 161 cases of murders resulting from domestic violence were recorded. Majority (86%) of the survivors of gender-based violence were women and girls.
GBV has undermined girls and women’s physical, sexual, and mental health. It has had wider implications for the economic and social wellbeing of families and communities. The levels of teenage pregnancy and child marriages in Uganda have increased with the closure of schools and learning institutions at all levels. Children have been exposed to domestic violence, drugs and substance abuse, sexually abuse, loss of loved ones and are now traumatized.
This year’s National celebration of the IWD will be marked at State House, Entebbe and His Excellency, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will be the Chief Guest. Several leaders from the women’s movement will be in attendance and it will be telecast live on the different radio and television stations and I encourage you to tune in.