#IWD2017: LET GIRLS AND WOMEN TAKE A SEAT AT THE TABLE

#Beboldforchange is a tagline for International Women’s day which is marked every year on March 8. This theme gears us to all be responsive and responsible leaders in creating a more gender inclusive world where women and girls have quality education, health care, decent work, access and ownership rights over property and technology and equal participation in political and economic decision making.

The Minister Dr Jane Aceng with some of the key staff of Marie Stopes

The Minister Dr Jane Aceng with some of the key staff of Marie Stopes

According World Economic Forum, gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. This gender disparity is due to some factors like women being underrepresented in the government, they are the minority in the booming tech sector yet still shoulder more in the household burden and having a greater risk of rape and domestic violence. Are we therefore going to seat, cross our arms and wait for a decade and yet many women in Uganda face a wide range of challenges like discrimination and lack of economic self-sufficiency which has led to gender based violence, limited access to health care and family planning leading to maternal and neonatal mortality and limited resources for the girl child to be in school.

To address these gaps, we need to learn from and replicate projects that have worked well to empower women; these include but are not limited to subsides for women, investment income generating activities, supporting girls stay in school among others.

One such project that Maries Stopes is implementing is the Uganda Reproductive Health Voucher Program. This is a 4 year Ministry of Health project aimed at increasing access to skilled care among poor women living in rural and disadvantaged areas during pregnancy and delivery. This project has empowered many less privileged mothers in Uganda to uptake antenatal care and safe delivery services thus strengthening institutional capacity to deliver reproductive health services to women and girls.

Therefore, to have more girls and women at the table, we must commit to advancing women and bring about change that is directly and aggressive reaching out to other women through coaching programs and initiatives; we need to identify the right forums which empower women socially, economically and also their health. We need to strengthen investments in service provision and advocacy more especially to health and family planning contraceptives, and a right to education for the girl child.

 

By. Mahoro Rose, Sexual Reproductive Counselor, Marie Stopes Uganda

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