Community Update

World Pulse Toolkits Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits are all available here.

We are especially excited to share our signature Citizen Journalism and Digital Empowerment Curriculum. Start learning today!

Ladies and Gentlemen,please keep abreast with the ongoing debate on matters concerning the future of all Ugandan women.

*Women activists support Bill*

Women activists have backed the now controversial Marriage and Divorce
Bill, calling on MPs to expedite the passing of the 47-year-old Bill. The
activists, working under the Marriage and Divorce Bill Coalition, say the
debate is being handled with emotion and the discussions on the contentious
issues are “unfortunately fictitious.” “The Marriage and Divorce Bill
Coalition today thought it prudent to state the truth, correct and put
right those misconceptions by clearly expressing the Bill’s position,” said
Ms Sheila Kawamara, the Uganda Women Network board chairperson, during a
press briefing at their headquarters in Ntinda. “There is a lot of
negativity in the discussion of the Bill, but it’s good to at least see
politicians ganging up and debating issues irrespective of Party lines.
They should know that even as women, we go into marriages because of love
and we want to have children.”The proposed law provides grounds for divorce
in case of adultery, sexual perversion, cruelty, and desertion of one’s
spouse for at least two years. Other conditions are change of religion,
incest, bestiality, sodomy, homosexuality or pornography.Opponents of the
proposed Bill, however, argue that the law will make it easy for people to
divorce at will, thus weakening the marriage institution. However, the
female activists argue that the divorce is not an automatic right that the
Bill seeks to grant.“The Bill has inbuilt measures to ensure that divorce
is a last option,” said Ms Kawamara. “We are saying that one cannot
petition for divorce before the expiry of two years from the date of
marriage, and it can only be attained after court has proved that a spouse
is suffering exceptional hardships in marriage.”Last week, Bishop of
Kasana-Luweero Diocese Paul Ssemwogerere described the Bill, in its current
state, as anti-Christian and called on MPs to scrap sections that promoted
divorce and cohabitation.

*Uganda: Ruling party to discuss controversial marriage bill


Uganda's ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) is to re-examine the
Marriage and Divorce Bill, expected to be passed into law later this year,
following a public backlash.Widespread complaints from religious leaders
and a cross-section of the Ugandan population against some controversial
sections in the recently proposed bill could force NRM to delay passing the
bill into law.Provisions of the bill that have raised the ire of many
Ugandans include a proposed five-year prison sentence as well as heavy
fines for men accused of marital rape.Doubts over the Bill becoming law
anytime soon were expressed after NRM called a caucus meeting to deal with
parts of the bill seen as controversial."NRM caucus is due to convene and
discuss the Marriage and Divorce Bill to ensure a careful analysis and
guided debate between members, before it is passed into law," Ugandan
President Yoweri Museveni said.He said some provisions of the bill, if not
thought out well, may cause disharmony in society adding that they required
careful analysis from the perspective of a liberated society.Museveni said
equality between men and women before God and in society was an ideology
highly respected by the NRM right from the period of the liberation
struggle.He criticised men who resort to domestic violence as a means of
settling family disagreements, describing it as a primitive method employed
by cowards.Museveni explained that men and women have different roles but
are equal and have equal brains, adding that even in matters of endurance
some women may persist longer than men.Among the provisions being contested
are one that recognises out of church marriages and sharing of property
after divorce.Initially, a clause in the bill sought to recognise
cohabitation as marriage if the couple had lived together for five years,
but it was thrown out after female legislators opposed it. That clause also
triggered the ire of women civil society groups, including Uganda Women
Network (UWONET), who called for the registration of all unions considered
as marriage. "All marriages, whether civil, customary, church or Hindu,
must be registered in order for it to be known as a marriage, and
cohabitation is very casual."There is no day people who cohabit can ever
remember what day they started cohabitation", said 86 year-old Rhoda
Kalema, one of Uganda's longest serving women's rights activists.Kalema
wants the cohabitation clause to be dropped and bill passed into law
expeditiously.But out of church marriages have become a new bone of
contention even though a number of Ugandans still prefer customary
marriages to the popular church unions.Catholic and Protestant bishops are
bitterly opposed to the recognition of marriages that are not solemnised in
the church and have called upon parliament not to pass the bill containing
such provisions.Shilah Kamala, Chairperson of the UWONET argues that the
widespread myth surrounding the bill, as being oppressive to a big group of
people should be cleared."It [the bill] is to save the couple. To save
people against each other" she said.
Read the original article on :

Uganda: Ruling party to discuss controversial marriage bill | East & Horn

*Residents divided over marriage Bill*

Residents of Fort Portal Municipality are worried of more trouble and chaos
in families if the proposed Marriage and Divorce Bill were passed in its
current state.At a consultative meeting with the area MP, Mr Alex Ruhunda,
at the weekend, they said the new Bill is of a disadvantage to the men
since women would only be looking for wealth in marriage.Parliament
recently started the debate on the Bill that has drawn interest from the
public. The lawmakers approved the first of the controversial clauses,
which abolishes refunds for wedding gifts after the couple split and widow
inheritanceMr Kennedy Steven, a resident of Futubitangwa village said:
“Women were more considered in this Bill and men were ignored which is
going to lead to more problems”.The men argued that marriages are going to
be reduced to adulterous institutions because they would not wait for the
women if they refuse to sleep with them. Some men said instead of pleading
with their wives who could report them to the police over rape, they would
rather go in for prostitutes.The women were very happy with the Bill and
appealed to the MP to support it in Parliament . They said that for a long
time, the men had stepped on their rights. “Many women have been chased
away by their husbands, leaving behind everything, even the ones they
contributed,” a lady participant said.Mr Ruhunda promised to table their
views in Parliament. Sheik appealsMeanwhile, Kibuli Muslim faction leader
Sheikh Zubair Kayongo has urged the lawmakers to handle the Marriage and
Divorce Bill well, saying some clauses did not favour the Muslims.He said
it limited the Muslim men from many wives, something allowed in their
faith.He said this in Bukuya Sub-county in Mubende District where he was
opening the Bukuya Town Masgid Ummah mosque on Saturday.“Parliament has to
be very careful on this bill because the Musalim community has its laws
that guide them,” Sheikh Kayongo said.

*Women MPs Want Separate Law On Cohabitation*

Women MPs under their umbrella body, the Uganda Women Parliamentary
Association (UWOPA), have called for a separate law to recognise
cohabitation as a form of marriage.This follows a resolution by the body,
to drop the cohabitation clause from the controversial Marriage and Divorce
Bill 2009, saying it was not a form of marriage."We all agree that
cohabitation exists and that it is real. But we should find a way of
dealing with it in a subsequent law, we can use cohabitation laws from UK,
Canada to deal with cohabitation," said UWOPA chairperson Betty Amongi.The
MPs noted that most Ugandans were reluctant to legalise their marriages,
saying that it would be unfair if such individuals are not catered for and
only legislate for married couples."These all are Ugandan citizens they
should be legislated for. I have realised that 60% of Ugandans are
cohabiting. We cannot ignore them and make a law for the minority and leave
the majority out," said Kabale Woman MP Ronah Ritah Ninsiima.The women MPs
lead by Amongi were speaking to journalists at the parliamentary building,
Kampala about the contentious clauses in the Bill. They include conjugal
rights, dowry, cohabitation and property sharing among others.The MPs
explained that they had decided to withdraw the cohabitation clause from
the Bill because it was not a form of marriage recognised in Uganda.They
also noted that cohabitation was not anywhere related to marriage thus its
exclusion from the Bill."It is not the wish of women to cohabit, all women
want to be wedded it is only men who are dodging," said Amongi.Cohabitation
is defined as a relationship where a man and a woman are living together as
husband and wife.Commenting about repeated calls religious leaders to have
the Bill revised, Amongi said the Church had been widely consulted and
their concerns were addressed."The Church's concern among others has always
been divorce. But according to the Bill, divorce is the last resort, it is
only permitted when you prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken
down," she explained.The MPs also dismissed allegations that the Marriage
and Divorce Bill was a women's Bill aimed at acquiring men's property upon
divorce."We want to bring peace among couples and also bring a closure to a
Bill that has been shelved since 1964," said Nabilah Naggayi, the Woman MP
for Kampala central.

*Self-defensive girl stones 'rapist' to death*

A sixteen-year-old girl has recorded a statement at the Police after a man
she hit with a stone died. She claimed he wanted to rape her.Shadia [not
real names] has recorded a statement at the Police.The man died on arrival
at Mulago Hospital. The incident took place on the weekend in Kyebando
Nsoba, a Kampala suburb.Currently detained at Kira Road police station,
Shadia said she did not intend to kill the man, but acted in
self-defence.“As I walked home from my friend’s home in Kamwokya, a man
leapt at me from the bushes and started slapping me. He also kicked me and
I fell down."As he started tearing off my skirts, attempting to rape me, I
overpowered him, picked a huge stone and hit him on the head,” she
narrated.Shadia added that when the man fell down, she ran to a relative’s
home.By press time, circumstances surrounding Shadia's arrest were scanty
but the district Police commander of Kira Road police station, Robert
Walugembe, said she will be charged with murder.

*The Political Rights of Women

Back in 1912, the only countries where women had the right to vote were:
New Zealand, which had granted voting rights to women as early as 1893;
Australia, which had granted women the right to vote in 1902; and
Finland, which had granted voting rights to women in 1906. Fifty years
later, in 1962, most nations in the world had granted women the right to
vote. However, there were still many countries where women could not vote.
Such countries included African nations like Morocco, Libya, Sudan, Congo,
Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, and Lesotho; countries in the Middle
East like Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Oman, Iran,
Afghanistan, and Bangladesh; Papua New Guinea, the only country is Asia.
The nation that comes as a surprise in Switzerland, where women were
granted voting rights as recently as 1971. As of 2012, women have the right
to vote anywhere in the world, except in Saudi Arabia.

*How the US Denies Justice to Victims of Sexual Violence Worldwide *

Horrific tales of gang rape— from
been in the news a lot lately. It is beyond disturbing that such brutality
continues, but the recent media attention combined with the
themeof this year’s
International Women’s Day, ending violence against women,
serve as important reminders that this effort is far from over.As we work
to end violence against women, we must also think about how to protect the
human rights of victims of violence. For when the headlines fade, we hear
little about what happens to the survivors, especially when they become
pregnant as a result of rape—or how US foreign policy limits a woman’s
options when she becomes pregnant following a sexual assault. The Helms
Amendment--a little known provision of the 1973 Foreign Assistance Act and
a predecessor to the more familiar domestic policy called the Hyde
which bans Medicaid coverage of abortion in most instances—makes it
impossible to ensure justice for victims of rape and incest. The Helms
Amendment forbids US foreign aid from being spent on abortion “as a method
of family planning.” That phrasing is a problem in and of itself. But in
practice, the amendment operates as a total
US funding for abortion care abroad—when it should be an integrated
of the reproductive health care programs supported by our humanitarian
aid. Instead, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has
Helms Amendment to deny funding for any abortions, including when a
woman’s life is threatened by a pregnancy, when a pregnancy results from
rape or incest, to preserve a woman’s health, or because of fetal
anomalies—categories that most would agree do not qualify as methods of
family planning.

*Raising the Bar: Combatting Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies*

Did you know that a woman or girl who has been raped has just 72 hours to
access medical care in order to prevent HIV infection? The hours and days
following rape are critical for women and men, and boys and girls, to treat
injuries related to the assault, prevent infection and receive the basic
emotional support that will allow them to recover and resume a full life.
Now imagine the challenges that a rape survivor may face in accessing those
basic services and support in situations where sexual violence is a daily
risk, and where services and assistance are limited – or located miles away
– as is the case in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo or South
Sudan.These challenges are real, and USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign
Disaster Assistance is committed to finding solutions to address
gender-based violence (GBV) as a part of our humanitarian response to
disasters. GBV, including rape, occurs in every country around the world,
and we know that it increases in disasters and conflicts. In order to
better respond, we’ve developed and are supporting new strategies to equip
ourselves and our partners with the training and expertise to, not only
quickly provide services for survivors, but also to help prevent violence
in the first place.

*Women No Longer At Ease*

There was a time in the 1990s when women in Uganda were powerful. The
consensus today is that the women's movement in slumber, if not dead.Dr
Miria Matembe, the renowned activist and founder of the women's development
NGO, Action for Development (ACFODE), has an interesting explanation for
it." Women were most vibrant between 1986-2000 and the movement reached its
peak after the promulgation of the new constitution in 1995, " she told The
Independent in a recent interview."The time was ripe for women
participation because women prefer to participate in peaceful times," she
added.Matembe says the insecurity, absence of peace and democracy that have
characterised Uganda since have, in her opinion, silenced women. Their
place has been taken up by the militancy of women like Ingrid Turinawe, the
opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) activist who involve
themselves in fierce face-offs with the police.The former Ethics Minister
also adds that the politics of patronage has "captured and co-opted women
into state structures from where they have lost their voice".Betty
Iyamuremye is the type of co-opted woman Matembe could be describing. She
is the Advocacy and Communications Officer Uganda Women Parliamentary
Association (UWOPA), a powerful position on the 135-member body but she is
rarely seen or heard from.In the same league as Iyamulemye are women like
Regina Bafaki, Solome Kimbugwe, Maria Nasali, Rita Aciro Lakor, Patricia
Munaabi Babiiha, Sheila Kawamara-Mishambi, and others. These women hold the
top position in Uganda's most powerful women's movement bodies including
FIDA-Uganda, Uganda Women's Network (UWONET), Action for Development
(ACFODE) and Forum for Women in Development (FOWODE).Most of these
organisations sprung up during or soon after the 1995 Constitution making
process and their leader were powerful activists. Most of their founders
were delegates to the Constituent Assembly (CA) and joined its women's
caucus. Today's leaders are not weak, merely different, according to

*Women empowerment*

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year to acknowledge, honour
and pay tribute to the ‘fairer sex’.But is just one day to shout about
women’s rights, their importance and benefits of having them around going
to make a difference? Mere words and promises make hardly any difference in
their lives. Some substantial and worthwhile steps ought to be taken so
that they can achieve parity and equality.There are many countries where
discrimination against women is predominantly prevalent. They struggle and
have to fight for their rights constantly. Though women have proven their
mettle and taken significant strides in all arenas, they still face
insurmountable challenges, hurdles and hindrance.Women are capable of
multitasking and striking a perfect balance between family and career and
have proven their mettle by making a mark in a man’s world. Societies’
cobwebs of ‘dated’ thoughts about women’s capacities and capabilities need
to change. Women too should appreciate their ability and strength and surge
ahead with guts and gusto.

*A Fundamental betrayal of women’s

Yesterday was International Women’s day (…yay… we get a day…) and a birth
story I read online triggered my 2 a.m. brain squirrels into frantic
activity. The birth story was very typical, induction of labor that lead
to cesarean section. The high cesarean rate in the United States, whether
by design or enculturation, serves as both a reinforcement of the “woman as
vessel” meme and as a fundamental engine of women’s disempowerment. First
off, women are enculturated with the belief that motherhood is the end-all
and be-all of female existence and that by achieving that end, fulfillment
is hers. How a woman feels about being a mother is completely beside the
point, she is one, here we cue the Hail Mary Assumption (Sherri S Tepper):
“…the assumption that all women are equipped with a stong, overriding
maternal instinct; that all babies arouse this maternal instinct; and that
any woman who does not respond maternally is a rotten person who must be
guilty as sin…” Second, it does not matter HOW our children got here, women
are to simply be grateful that they ARE here, no other emotional
considerations need apply, tyvm.First to that latter point, HOW our
children get here IS important and it CAN color our relationships with them
and the world around us. I know from personal experience, as a mom who had
a c-section with my first child, that though I loved my daughter with all
that I was, there was something off. The cause of her surgical entrance
into the world was a condition called “deep transverse arrest”, basically,
she was stuck facing left after not having fully rotated around to where
she needed to be in order to be born. It was mostly just one of those
damned things and perhaps, had I been encouraged to be up and moving
around, she would have been born normally. Point being, I came away from
the experience feeling my body betrayed me or the medical system betrayed
me and kept me from doing something that women are supposed to do
naturally. How could this happen to me, the daughter of a woman who gave
birth 6 times from 1949 to 1965? I have long felt a pall over that birth
experience, just not knowing what might have happened had I been in
different place and time with different caregivers. I always had the old
fall back of “I have a healthy baby”… the same words that most women say.
And while the c-section can truly be a lifesaving surgery for mothers and
babies, the skyrocketing number of them is an illustration of the baseline
cultural distrust of women and their bodies, as well as a fundamental
betrayal of that trust. It also serves to step up a woman’s status as an
incubator or mere vessel, her emotions are shunted aside and she is told
she must be happy since she has a healthy baby. If you aren’t joyful, you
are considered to have something wrong with you. Of course, any woman’s
response to a c-section varies with the number of women who have them, but
there is a nearly universal denial that she should feel badly at all… she
has her fulfillment, that baby… that is what she was here for in the first
place, right. The baby is the prize, the gold ring… so why isn’t she happy?

*R-Jeneration: Meadows teenager creates a club to empower women*

The numbers are shocking. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National
Network, or RAINN, one in six women have been the victim of an attempted or
completed rape in her lifetime - about 17.7 million women. With this in
mind, Elisse Johnson, a 16-year-old junior at The Meadows School, formed
the Women Empowerment Club.In a recent interview at a Starbucks near the
Summerlin school, Johnson talked about her inspirations and goals for the
club over ice water as euphonious jazz music played in the background."I'm
kind of nervous," she said quietly as she sat back in the corner of the
coffee shop. However, Johnson appeared confident as she began to share how
the club is grappling with the societal issues women face today.Growing up,
Johnson noticed differences between men and women in social and
professional situations. She believes learning about these differences and
encouraging young women will allow them to succeed."I want to show young
women that it's possible to be in Congress," she said. "It's possible to be
a successful businesswoman despite the image we usually see of an older
male in these types of jobs."Johnson started her club out of concern for
some of her female peers. Johnson noticed a lack of respect some boys have
toward girls.Johnson says girls struggle with body image, and this
"perfect" body image is promoted through the media. She feels disturbed
when other girls are ostracized for their looks.

*Public libraries and women’s empowerment: Stories from around the world*

Public libraries in developing countries serve as critical ICT access
points for women in their communities, as developed in the TASCHA Global
Impact Study of Public Access to Information & Communication
Importantly, they are designing qualitatively different activities that
empower women. Here are some of examples of how libraries are serving
women in ways that go beyond public access to technology:In Uganda, women
farmers take part in an ICT training program organized by the National
Library , a Beyond Access
member. After conducting background research in local communities, the
library found that female farmers had many unmet information needs and
would benefit from access to weather forecasts, crop prices, and planning
information, particularly in their local languages. This program empowers
women farmers and increases their economic well-being through technology
skills, even helping them set up online markets for their crops.

*Silent Revolution In Bihar And Women’s Empowerment*

Of late 580 well-trained women are ready to move into the most difficult
terrain of Bihar, the mostly Naxal-infested Rohatas district and its
surrounding areas. These brave women were trained as the first female
battalion of the military police with a twin purpose. One, to fight against
the Maoists in the different districts, and two, to address the steeply
increasing violence and criminal activities against the female populace.
Nitish Kumar believes that women’s battalion depicts women’s power. For
better security, women need to be trained and groomed to fight against the
rowdy and unruly street loafers on the roads and public places. These women
underwent rigorous training, including in night warfare tactics, for 14
months and can now handle rifles, carbines and landmines as well as any
male colleague. The Bihar Government had first planned an all-female
battalion to fight crime in the State in 2007. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish
Kumar said the State Government was committed to women’s empowerment and
the raising of the first women’s battalion in Bihar was a milestone in this
endeavour.As an aftermath of the Delhi gang-rape case, the whole
country—cutting across castes, regions and religions—is shocked and
worried. The feeling of dismay and anger displayed on the streets in
different cities of India was symptomatic of a collective and deep sense of
angst throughout the country. Each wing of the state geared up to focus its
priorities keeping the need of protecting women’s dignity in mind. But the
overall social and economic status of women remains depressingly low. The
Constitution granted women equal rights and entitlements in order to put
them on the path of development. All these, aimed at the empowerment of
women in society, seemingly appear to be false when we see “half the
population” of the country still fighting for their basic rights at the
individual and community level.

*Coca-Cola signs up for Women's Empowerment*

Beverage giant, Coca-Cola Amatil, used International Women's Day to
reinforce its commitment to gender equality, signing the UN's Women's
Empowerment Principles.The Principles comprise seven steps which global
businesses can take to advance and empower female employees.Coca-Cola
Amatil is the ninth Australian business to sign the Principles, and group
managing director, Terry Davis, said "We recognise that diversity is good
for business and we know that to be an even more successful company and
corporate citizen our staff should reflect and closely resemble the
communities we operate in."The Women’s Empowerment Principles – Equality
Means Business – are produced by the United Nations Entity for Gender
Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations
Global Compact. They provide a guidance for actions that all people can
take in the workplace, marketplace and community to empower women and
benefit companies and societies.

*Migrant women’s empowerment in the city*

It is international women’s day today and the world’s women are on the move
like never before: according to figures from the International Institute
for Migration, women constitute 49% of the world’s 214 million
transnational migrants.
It is often assumed that transnational migration is empowering to women,
particularly if their destination country is one where women enjoy greater
levels of gender equality than they do in their country of origin.Donna
Butorac’s PhD study of the experiences of women moving to Australia shows
that the story is not that simple. Migration resulted in the
re-establishment of more traditional gender roles for her participants. In
her cohort of highly-educated skilled and business migrants, women who had
established themselves as successful professionals or businesswomen
pre-migration were turned into stay-at-home housewives and mothers in
Australia. This was due to the way that visa procedures defined them as
secondary to a man, their husband, and also due to barriers to re-entry
into the workforce.Research published in the latest issue of Sociological
a further piece to the puzzle of migrant women’s experiences of
autonomy (or lack thereof). Focussing on Mexican migrant women in the USA
with low socioeconomic post-migration status, “The relational context of
migration ”
explores their experiences of autonomy inside and outside the home in three
distinct locations.The first research site, an urban neighbourhood in New
Jersey, is characterized by a high density of Mexican immigrants and the
availability of bilingual social services within walking distance or
distances accessible by public transport. The second research site is a
suburban context in Ohio, where Mexican migrants live in relative isolation
from each other, the availability of social services in Spanish is more
limited and the ability to drive and access to a private vehicle are a
prerequisite for mobility. Finally, the third research site is in rural
Montana, characterized by the inaccessibility of social services, by rugged
terrain and great distances.

*Nigeria: SEC Canvasses Women Empowerment*

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has called for financial and
economic empowerment for women to enable them face social and cultural
challenges.The Director General of the commission, Ms. Arunma Oteh, made
the call during the financial empowerment forum for women to commemorate
the International Women's Day with the theme: 'Enabling Women's Financial
Inclusion'.Oteh stressed the importance of empowering women economically to
enable them cope with the various challenges they were faced with. She
said, "Here in Nigeria, women's right to financial and economic empowerment
is very important to us; women are facing enormous social and cultural
challenges. Yet, there is no doubt that many of the cultural challenges
women face today can be overcome through greater financial
independence."She said the commission hoped to enhance retail investor
participation in the Nigerian capital market by unlocking the huge
potentials, which Nigeria's female population represented.

*Female Empowerment Campaign Asks Men: Are You “Better than

In honor of International Women’s Day, several organizations launched a
campaign under the slogan “Kheer Menha?” (“Better than Her?”), asking
Tunisia’s men whether they believe they are superior to their wives,
mothers, sisters, and other women in their lives.“Through this campaign, we
wanted to gauge the degree of citizens’ awareness of women’s rights,” said
Hanen Chakroun, a representative from the media office of the Center for
Research, Studies, Documentation, and Information on Women (CREDIF). The
United Nations Population Fund and various youth organizations are also
involved in the project, which runs until March 16.Organizers set up two
blank boards on Habib Bourguiba Avenue Friday and invited people to write
on them. The contributions of passers-by included declaration such as “no
life without a woman;” “the role of women in the west as well as the east
still consists of being mothers and wives — her role should extend to all
other fields;” and “Women are equal to men.”“We chose this street because
of its symbolic value,” Chakroun said. “Different groups of people pass by,
which will expose the campaign to everyone.”The “Kheer Menha?” campaign
consists of spreading awareness among youth to put an end
to discrimination against women , and emphasizing the importance of the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

*Calling all Global CEOs -- Have You Signed the UN Women's Empowerment
Principles Yet?*

The UN is putting its muscle behind changing the game for global women, and
is asking companies around the world to follow suit.There has been so much
talk, but so little action – around women’s leadership, gender equality,
and curtailing violence against women. This year, however, efforts seem to
be more serious, possibly fueled on the humanitarian front by such
horrendous examples of violence around the
and on the business front by Catalyst’s latest
just how badly women’s progress in business has stalled (for at
least 7 years, on boards, in top leadership, and in the highest paying
corporate jobs.)

*Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Are Key to Addressing Global

President Barack Obama
his January 2013 State of the Union address that the United States
would join with its allies to “eradicate” extreme poverty over the “next
two decades” by connecting more people to the global economy and empowering
women.Putting an end to extreme poverty requires providing opportunities
for all individuals, especially women, to thrive through education,
nutrition, and health. In order to achieve this goal, a greater emphasis
must be placed on gender equality and the removal of barriers that
disproportionately affect women.A great deal of progress has been made in
the fight against poverty, particularly since the adoption of the U.N.
Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, in 2001. From 1990 through 2008, the
number of people worldwide living in extreme poverty fell by more than 800
Yet barriers to prosperity still remain—such as inequality and
discrimination against marginalized populations—and new challenges continue
to emerge that impede goals to reduce poverty.Approximately 1.3 billion
people still don’t have access to electricity, and overcoming the lack of
reliable sources of energy is an absolute hurdle to getting out of poverty.
Other threats to the economic well-being of individuals and
families—including climate change—endanger development gains and threaten
to reverse them. And where there has been measurable progress alleviating
poverty, that progress has been uneven: The most disadvantaged and poorest
of the poor have not received the same benefits of development.

*Gender violence a daily affair *

Special Advisor to the Governor of the Khomas Region, Moses !Omeb, says
women face various forms of gender-based violence on a daily basis, despite
the country’s progressive laws.Namibia has signed and ratified many
international and regional instruments such as the Convention on the
Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, and its Optional
Protocol, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of
Women in Africa. Others are the Beijing Declaration Platform for Action
and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.“What is sad is the fact
that even homes have become unsafe as most violence is committed by someone
known to the survivor or victim,” said !Omeb, who spoke on behalf of the
Khomas Governor, Laura McLeod-Katjirua, at the International Women’s Day
celebration on Friday.The event was held at the Ministry of Gender Equality
and Child Welfare head office under the theme, ‘A promise is a promise:
time for action to end violence against women’. Those in attendance
included the ministry’s staff.!Omeb said that some of the causes of
violence can be ascribed to the unequal power relations between women and
men, which ensures male dominance over women, alcohol and substance abuse,
and a lack of, or limited parental guidance to ensure that children grow up
with values of mutual respect and non-violence.Speaking in Parliament last
week on behalf of the Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare,
Rosalia Nghidinwa, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard
Kamwi, said the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare remains
deeply concerned about the escalating violence against women and
girls. Kamwi said the gender ministry is committed to working towards the
combating and eradication of all forms of gender-based violence.

*ILO Director-General calls for end to gender-based violence at work*

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, has called for an end to gender-based
violence at work, in an event organized to mark International Women’s
Day.In a speech delivered at the ILO’s headquarters in
Mr. Ryder described gender-based violence as “exceptionally dehumanizing,
pervasive and oppressive.” “Putting an end to gender-based violence at work
is integral to the ILO’s objective of promoting decent work for all women
and men in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity,” he
stressed. Mr. Ryder said that violence in the workplace is “deeply
injurious” to individuals but also has consequences for their families, for
societies and also for enterprises. He outlined ILO Conventions that
include guidance on addressing violence in the workplace as well as
practical tools that had been developed but noted that there were still
major gaps to be addressed including the fact that there is still no
explicit international human rights treaty prohibition on violence against
women and the need to focus on the informal economy where many women are
working hidden and unprotected.“These represent avenues for future work by
the ILO and other agencies,” he said.

*New call to intensify war against gender-based violence *

Addressing scores of Johannesburg residents during celebrations marking
International Women’s Day on the Rissik Street Bridge on Friday, Clr
Mashao, who is also Chairperson of the Johannesburg Gender, Youth and
People with Disabilities Committee (Geyodi), said tragically, South Africa
was moving away from the women emancipation agenda towards the culture of
gender-based violence.The event – also attended by representatives of
various non-governmental organisations, including Amnesty International
South Africa – took place against the backdrop of a litany of cases of
violence against women, with the fatal shooting of model Reeva Steenkamp
and the gang-rape and murder of Bredadorp teenager Anene Booysen dominating
international headlines.Through its Growth and Development Strategy 2040
(GDS 2040), the City of Johannesburg seeks to create safe neighbourhoods
reinforced by strong community-based policing programmes linked to its law
enforcement efforts and those of the South African Police Service.March 8
was officially declared International Women’s Day by the United Nations
General Assembly in 1977. This year’s theme is: “A promise is a promise:
Time for action to end violence against women.In her speech, Clr Mashao
said it could not be correct that the rights of women, which were fought so
hard for, could be taken for granted in such a manner. “As we empower women
economically and politically, we must also ensure their safety,” she
said.Mashao also called on all South Africans to use the opportunity to
celebrate women occupying top positions on the global stage, such as
Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson, African Union Commission Head
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi
Read more:

*One million men, one million promises to help end gender-based violence*

Our own Zerlina is still getting rape
conservatives who apparently think suggesting men
can end sexual violenceis
the very height of stupidity. Meanwhile–over in the reality-based
community–a global movement of men doing just that is growing.Launched
today by Breakthrough, in partnership with UN Women and grassroots groups
from South Africa to Malaysia, the “Ring the
is aiming to get one million men to make one million promises to
help end violence against women this year. Former football player Don
McPherson explains:What
can men do?Men do not just need to stop being violent. The vast majority of
men are not violent. But men do need to stop being silent. Calling violence
against women, whether street harassment or sexual harassment or rape or
murder, a “women’s issue” allows men to ignore it as if we have no
responsibility for it or stake in ending it. We all have grandmothers,
mothers, sisters, daughters and female friends and colleagues. Our lives
are inextricably interwoven; women’s issues of safety and equality directly
affect our lives as men.Beyond that, women are humans, with the same rights
to safety and freedom as men. It is therefore our moral responsibility to
not remain silent or passively on the sidelines, but to be actively engaged
in confronting this problem in every corner of homes, communities and

*UN: Ending Gender Violence Key to Ending HIV/AIDS*

Research conducted by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS,
revealed that half of all people living with HIV are women, and that ending
gender-based violence is critical to ending HIV/AIDS. The agency said that
a key part of conquering both sexual violence and HIV/AIDS is to include
men in initiatives where the goal is to end violence against women and to
empower them.UNAIDS Director Mariangela Simao explained that violence
against women translates to sexual violence, and like a domino effect,
sexual violence can lead to women contracting HIV/AIDS. She said their
research showed that in many cases, the first sexual experience for an
adolescent girl is through sexual violence which often evolves into more
violent acts on them."There are other forms of violence that could make
women a higher risk of HIV infection, said Simao. "For example, in stable
partnerships where domestic violence is a reality, and many times the
partner has multiple partnerships outside the marriage. Also, violent
contacts make it harder for women to negotiate condom use.rdquo;The UNAIDS
official noted conditions that potentially lead to sexual violence exist
not just in countries experiencing ethnic and political conflicts. For
example, in many cultures, violence against women is acceptable, making it
difficult for women to take action against it. Victims are afraid to take
action for fear of stigmatization and more violence against them. For
women, a key to empowering women is education."Education helps, but it
doesn't mean that all women who are submitted to violence are uneducated,
because that is not true. Gender equality measures, or programs put in
place can help decrease the vulnerability to gender based violence and
consequently, in the case of sexual violence, the vulnerability to an HIV
infection,rdquo; she said.Financial dependency is also a risk factor for
women who are continually submitted to gender-based violence. That's
because they lack the opportunities to get out of the situation. It is
vital that their husbands, partners, brothers and sons become a part of the
solution in empowering them.

*More women entering regional politics*

Even though Balkan countries are shy of the European average when it comes
to women in politics, their presence in public life is growing. Montenegro
has the first female defence minister in its history, while Serbia got its
first woman Central Bank governor. Kosovo has its first woman president.
The new women prime ministers in Republika Srpska and Slovenia will
additionally increase the number of females in the region's governments. "I
am honored that I am the first women which will run the RS government. It's
a little bit atypical for our region, but I am aware of my responsibility,"
Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic told reporters. "As a woman, I hope to add
a new flair and a new dimension to the institutions of Republika Srpska."
Civil sector representatives said that while women's position in public
life has improved in the past few years, it still has not reached the EU
member-state average of 40 percent. "We are trying to educate women not to
vote as their husbands, fathers and brothers tell them to, but to make
their own decision. There has been a slight improvment in the past few
years, but women are still lowly represented in politics," Azra
Hasanbegovic, director of Women BiH, an NGO that promotes women in all
spheres of life, told SETimes. According to research conducted in September
2012 by Interparliamentary Union, Serbia ranks first in the region with 33
percent of women in its government. Slovenia and Macedonia follow with 30
percent, next is Croatia 23 percent and BiH with 14 percent. Montenegro,
with only 12 percent of women in its parliament, is the lowest in the

*China's women struggle to breach male-heavy politics*

Communities across China have been celebrating and promoting International
Women's Day by holding women-only competitions in flower-arranging,
cooking, aerobics and singing.In Chinese politics, whose annual, highly
ceremonial conclave is underway in Beijing, there appears less to
celebrate. Female success stories abound in the worlds of business and
sports, and China's second female astronaut will lift off this summer, but
women struggle to achieve the highest political positions."China is still a
sexist country, dominated by men, and women are discriminated against,
which started back in ancient times," said Wang Hongwei, a women's studies
expert at South China Normal University in Guangzhou. "Prejudice and
misunderstanding toward female politicians and officials are widespread in
China, although the number and percentage of female officials are still
small."At this year's session of the National People's Congress (NPC), the
rubber-stamp legislature that serves China's ruling Communist Party, women
make up 23.4% of the almost 3,000 hand-picked deputies, a 2.1% increase
over 2012, reported the state-run Xinhua news agency. That marks the first
time the female ratio has met or exceeded a non-compulsory guideline quota,
set in 2007, of at least 22%, yet the lack of real progress is highlighted
by the fact the new NPC figure only slightly exceeds the ratio achieved
back in the mid-1970s.

*Namibian Minister Urges Better Implementation Of Laws To Prevent
Gender-Based Violence*

Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Rosalia Nghidinwa said the
strong political will of Parliamentarians to address gender-based violence
(GBV) is proof that the country is ready to overcome this issue,?Namibia
Press Agency (NAMPA) reported."I want to say that Namibia has made a pledge
and commitment to uphold and protect the rights of her people through the
Constitution," Nghidinwa said during the International Women's Day
celebrations themed 'A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to end
Violence against Women' here recently.The minister said that the main
stumbling block in the advancement of women in the past has not stemmed
from the lack of law or policies, but rather from gaps in the
implementation of the existing legislation."Our Government has developed
several laws aimed at the promotion and protection of human rights in our
country," she said.These include the Married Persons Equality Act 1996;
Affirmative Action Act 1998; Combating of Rape Act 2000; and Combating of
Domestic Violence Act 2003.

*Women making great strides in politics since Independence*

Sandrea Falconer, the minister with responsibility for gender affairs, in a
statement in the Senate on Friday, said that women have broken the glass
ceiling in politics but there is need for more to be involved in the
process."We have elected a female prime minister, which means that we have
broken the glass ceiling at the highest level of political leadership,"
Falconer said.Falconer, however, said the number of women in the Senate is
too low. Of the 21 members in the Senate, there are three women on the
government side - Falconer, Angela Brown Burke and Imani Duncan Price - and
two women on the opposition side - Kamina Johnson Smith and Marlene Malahoo
Forte.Meanwhile, Falconer noted that 12.5 per cent of the seats in the
House of Representatives are filled by women, although in the 2011 general
election, 35 per cent of the seats were contested by women.First Female
Prime MinisterAccording to Falconer, while there is more to be done in to
empower women, the country has made great strides in its 50 years of
Independence.She pointed to Portia Simpson Miller becoming the country's
first female prime minister, and Lorna Myers, the co-founder of Restaurants
of Jamaica being inducted into the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica
Hall of Fame, as examples of the strides made by women.She also noted that
28.6 per cent of the country's mayors are women, and 56 per cent of its
permanent secretaries.At the same time, women occupy key positions such as
those of the auditor general, chief justice, director of public
prosecutions and solicitor general.

*A Political Tug-of-War Over Militarism and Gender Violence*

When the largest single gathering of women met at the United Nations in
February last year, the adoption of a future plan of action was undermined
by rigidly conservative governments opposed to women’s reproductive rights
– largely misinterpreted as a right to abortion.As a result, the 45-member
U.N. Commission on the Status of
Women(CSW), the
principal policy-making body dedicated to the advancement of
women, concluded its two-week-long meeting last year without an “outcome
document” or “agreed conclusions”.This year, another political storm has
been brewing as some member states are determined to delete all references
in the outcome document to two landmark Security Council resolutions (1325
and 1820) on the importance of women, peace and security in relation to
militarism and gender violence.According to an Asian diplomat, countries
such as Canada, Switzerland and members of the European Union (EU) have
been supportive of the need to underscore the importance of 1325 and
1820.But Russia, with its own undeclared agenda, has opposed the
linkages.Interestingly, the diplomat said, the African group wants a
reference only to “relevant Security Council resolutions” but suggests the
deletion of actual references to 1325 and 1820, (plus several other
resolutions on women, peace and security), and has also refused to accept
the recognition of the linkages between gender equality, peace, security
and development.

*MAS Chief recognized for women empowerment


MAS Holdings Chairman Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean has been recognized for
exceptional leadership in championing women’s empowerment and support for
the Women’s Empowerment Principles – a partnership initiative of UN Women
and the UN Global Compact. The award highlights “concrete and innovative
actions taken to advance women in the workplace, marketplace and
community.”He is one of the five global business leaders recognized at this
inaugural Leadership Awards presentation. He received the award for
Cultural Change for Empowerment, for the pioneering MAS Women Go Beyond
programme initiated by MAS Holdings in 2003. The programme challenged the
accepted norms of employment for women in the Sri Lankan apparel industry,
extending its impact to the South Asian region.The Leadership Awards were
presented at the fifth Annual Women’s Empower ment Principles (WEPs) event,
held recently in New York, in observance of the International Women’s Day.
The occasion was graced by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,
who gave the closing address.Commenting on the accolade, Mahesh Amalean
said, “This award is a global endorsement that we are doing the right thing
in a crucial area of ethical business and encourages us to further refine
and strengthen the Women Go Beyond programme.This award will encourage me
to continue giving leadership to empowering women in our organisation and
the communities in which we live.”

*Wanted – more women in top posts*

"IT'S NO longer tenable to exclude talented women from decision-making
positions. We are not interested in tokenism anymore. There will be a
gender equality and equity wave, if not a tsunami, in the very near
future." These strong words took me by surprise although journalists like
to deal with strongly-worded statements. The stronger the better, as they
have greater news value.The above quote is the text message sent to me by
Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, former cabinet minister and now head of
Wanita Umno and Wanita Barisan Nasional. I had asked her to respond to
reports regarding dissatisfaction expressed in letters to the editor on
Malaysia still having far too few women in decision-making positions,
especially in academia, and worse still in the corporate sector.Datin Seri
Rosmah Mansor, the prime minister's wife, sparked a debate on the issue
when she called for more women to be appointed vice-chancellors of
universities.Her call was quickly picked up by Tan Sri Dr Rafiah Salim, the
former vice-chancellor of the University of Malaya. Dr Rafiah was the first
woman to head a local university when she was appointed in 2006. While VCs
normally stay on their job for quite some time, Dr Rafiah was replaced
after only three years.In her letter to the editor, she exposed the gender
discrimination prevailing in public universities despite the government
having a policy since 2004 of 30% women in decision-making positions.And in
2011, the cabinet also approved the gender diversity policy that extended
the 30% quota to the private sector as well especially in public-listed and
government-linked companies.

*Sacrificing women for politics: These U.S. House members from Pa. have
sent a horrifying message*

Violence against women is a profoundly serious and disturbing problem
throughout the world. We like to think it is different here at home. We
expect women will be safe and treated fairly. We assume that no political
party or partisan agenda will stand in the way of ensuring the safety of
our grandmothers, our mothers and our daughters.Events of the last month
suggest these may be false assumptions. At the very least, we must ask if
our legislators are acting to meet this challenge.On Feb. 28, after weeks
of building public pressure, the U.S. House of Representatives finally
passed a bill to reauthorize funding for the landmark Violence Against
Women Act. The reauthorization expands federal programs to assist local
communities with law enforcement and aiding victims of domestic and sexual
abuse. Most notably, it expands protections for gay, bisexual or
transgender domestic abuse victims and extends coverage to Native American
Indian women assaulted on reservations by non-Indians.Before this year,
this legislation was notable for its lack of partisan controversy. But when
it came time to vote, nearly one-third of House members found these
inclusions unacceptable -- despite the strength that women demonstrated at
the polls this past election.
Read more:

*Women Urged to Respect Their Men*

As thousands of women and women organisations flocked Nakasongola last
Friday to mark the International Women's day, Uganda Community-Based
Association for Women and Children Welfare (UCOBAC) did otherwise.Together
with its volunteers, UCOBAC pushed the celebration to March 9, and used the
occasion to sensitise women in Mbuya, in Nakawa division, about the effects
of domestic violence. First, they marched through the area, singing songs
about women freedom. In a meeting later, the women also agreed that it was
very important to include men in their activities to push their cause
further.Matilda Nabukonde, the assistant programme officer (UCOBAC), urged
women to respect their men and also complement their little incomes, if
they are to have successful marriages."I know there are some women who
provoke their men to fight even when they are naturally calm," she said as
she demonstrated acts of violent women.The Observer recently reported that
women in eastern Uganda were becoming notorious for battering their men,
although some have argued that women only use violence to counter men's
violence. For UCOBAC to achieve their call for zero tolerance to domestic
violence against women, Aida Kemigisha, a representative of KCCA Town
Clerk, recommended that their men too are part of the sensitization

*Warid Awards Outstanding Women*

Thrilling performances on a magnificent stage complete with great sound
amidst an endless flow of assorted drinks and a hearty dinner to seal the
night. This is what the guests experienced at the second edition of Warid
Women of Substance awards dinner that took place at the Serena hotel on
March 6.Warid joined the rest of the world to celebrate the women who had
positively impacted the community. The event featured women from diverse
walks of life, who were hand-picked by Warid to grace the ceremony held in
commemoration of the International Women's day.Nevertheless, a few men were
present to spice up the event. Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka was the
keynote speaker of the day. The event did not fall short of glamour, fun
and spark as the elegantly-dressed guests were treated to bouts of comedy
from members of Fun Factory; thrilling traditional dances from Ndere Troupe
and live band performance from Code 9.Julianna Kanyomozi, who scooped the
Warid award in the entertainment category, also performed some of her songs
like I am Ugandan and Sanyu Lyange. The other winners of the night were
Winnie Byanyima who scooped the International award, Dr Margaret Mungherera
won the social work and administration award while Flavia Namakula and
Julian Adyeeri Omara emerged winners in the sports and entrepreneurship
categories, respectively.

*Businesswomen Must Push On Regardless*

Dr Gudula Naiga Basaza is a farmer with Gudie Leisure Farm and also the
Chairperson Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL), an
organisation that unites women entrepreneurs.As Uganda marked International
Women's day last week, Naiga told Alon Mwesigwa that Ugandan women had a
lot to celebrate.Why should a Ugandan woman celebrate International Women's
day?Like any other woman in the world, there are so many things a Ugandan
woman has achieved. Take, for instance, the issue of property inheritance;
it was unheard of for a woman to inherit property but we have made a
breakthrough on that. It's worth celebrating.Besides, women were [only]
seen as a source of cheap family labour, but nowadays women are engaged in
successful businesses. Look at education, politics, and other social
spheres - women have risen.But the ordinary woman is still suffering:Yes we
understand there are some issues that need to be resolved, but even that
ordinary woman you are talking about feels happy when she sees her daughter
go to school. It is because that traditional belief that education was
reserved for boys has been broken.

*Ugandan Women On The Move*

World over, women have always worked. But most of their work has been
unrewarded. Yet, women too contribute to economic growth. In
women work as smallholder farmers, school teachers, domestic
chief executives, politicians, nurses, volunteers, doctors, taxi drivers,
mothers, carpenters; child care workers, and business owners among
others.Four out of every five women in Uganda are employed in agriculture,
according to the 2008 Gender and Productivity
This implies most Ugandan women employed in subsistence agriculture. Women,
therefore, make essential contributions to the economy. Needless to say,
women also contribute to the economy as consumers. They are contributing to
growth of Uganda’s GDP.For the past few decades the voice of women in
Uganda has become louder. Women are increasingly playing leading roles in
the economic, social and political transformation. They are improving
livelihoods across the country. We have women who are engineers, lawyers,
editors, doctors, professors, etc. For instance, the Allen
the national tax collection body, Uganda
Revenue Authority and under her leadership the tax
body has performed so well.Indeed, a
a consultancy firm Booz & Company states that if female employment
matched those of men, GDP would increase by 5% in America and 9% in Japan
by 2020. A recent article in The
that in the next decade nearly 1 billion women are likely to enter the
global labour force.

*UN agencies combine efforts to tackle gender-based violence on this year’s
International Women’s Day*

Today on International Women’s Day, women and men around the globe come
together to rally, discuss and take action to stop violence against women
and girls. The United Nations observes this year’s International Women’s
Day with the theme: 'A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End
Violence against Women!' And the time is right: violence against women and
girls is a rampant problem worldwide.Violence against women and girls is a
global pandemic, with up to seven in ten women facing physical and/or
sexual violence from an intimate partner during their lifetime. The Asia
Pacific Region is no exception. What is increasingly becoming important in
violence prevention interventions is the understanding of the root causes
of violence against women and girls, and the right ways to address them in
the specific national and regional contexts because violence against women
and girls is preventable, not inevitable.

*Fairland University licence revoked*

The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has revoked Fairland
University’s operating licence over failure to meet the minimum standards.
The university is currently home to about 600 students.Ms Faridah Bukirwa,
the NCHE senior legal and corporate affairs officer, in a statement
yesterday, said following numerous visits to the institution by their
teams, the university was found to be operating far below the standards set
by the body. She explained that although there had been a notice of
intention to revoke the licence of the institution on July 24, 2005, the
university had not progressed towards full establishment.NCHE argues that
Fairland University failed to comply with the standards for the
establishment and operation of a university, including but not limited to;
management and governance, academic staff in terms of numbers and
qualifications, library (materials and staff) and infrastructure. They also
accuse Fairland University of presenting false audited accounts.The
“The failure on the part of the university to remedy these weaknesses, the
national council in its sitting of March 11, 2013 resolved to revoke the
Provisional Licence issued to Fairland University on March18, 2005,” reads
the statement.The body is by law mandated to ensure that the public
accesses quality education in institutions of higher learning. But the
university Vice Chancellor, Prof Solomon Wakabi, yesterday feigned
ignorance of the development, saying they had been in a meeting with the
body but had not been communicated to the decision.He said NCHE has not
been fair to the institution since its establishment 12 years ago.
According to Prof Wakabi, they have already sued NCHE and do not expect
them to revoke their licence.

*233 million women lacking contraception in 2015: study*

An estimated 233 million women in their fertile years will lack access to
modern contraception by 2015, up from 221 million in 2010, according to a
study published on Tuesday.Excluding China, developing countries will
account for more than 80 percent of the unmet need, especially in
sub-Saharan Africa, experts reported in The Lancet.Use of contraception
among women aged 15-49 has risen over the past two decades, it said.But a
demographic bulge means the total of women lacking access to fertility
control will rise without funding to tackle the problem.In 2010, 12.3
percent of women of fertile age did not have access to contraception, down
from 15.4 percent in 1990, according to the study, funded by the UN
Population Division and the National University of Singapore.Under the
Millennium Development Goals, UN members pledged to achieve "universal
access to reproductive health" by 2015.In its annual State of World
Population report last November, the UN said family planning led to a boost
in child health and education, helped women secure a place in the workforce
and reduced dangerous back-street abortions.If an additional 120 million
women who wanted contraceptives could get them by 2020, an estimated three
million fewer babies would die in their first year of life, it said.

*Cancer institute gets screening machine*

The Mulago Cancer Institute has for years been carrying out cancer
screening without immediate release of results, referring patients to the
New Mulago hospital block for testing. But the institute will now be able
to screen and test for the disease immediately, thanks to a new machine
donated by the Indian Women Association in Uganda.Dr Noleb Mugisha, the
head of Comprehensive Community Cancer Awareness at the Institute, said:
“With this Colposcopy machine, we can screen using our hands and eyes, and
use the machine to accurately ascertain whether its cancer or not.” He said
the machine is used to test for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which is
commonly associated with cervical cancer among women.Quoting recent
statistics, he said 40 of every 1,000 women in Uganda is infected with
cervical cancer.Dr Mugisha said the disease can be cured with no
devastating effects if a patient is diagnosed with the disease at an early

*CSOs cry for better medical services*

Civil Society Organisations, under their umbrella body, Voices for Health
Rights, have condemned the poor state of health services offered to
women.While marking the International Women’s Day in Kampala last week, Ms
Allen Kuteesa, the body’s programmes officer, told journalists that the
health crises facing Ugandan women continue to increase unabated, citing
preventable maternal mortality, lack of access to timely HIV treatment and
lack of access to reproductive and health services.“The per capita
investment in health is only $27 (Shs71,500) as opposed to $ 440 (Shs1.2m)
to provide minimum health care packages to women and stop spending out of
their own pocket,” Ms Kuteesa said.Commenting on the national theme for
this year’s celebrations, Gender Agenda: Connecting grassroots women to
development, the activists noted that there was little to celebrate for
Ugandan women.

*USE schools to close over lack of funds*

Schools implementing Universal Secondary Education have threatened to close
the term prematurely citing lack of funds. Ms Hanifah Bukenya, the
chairperson National Association of Private Universal Secondary Education
Schools (NAPUSES), yesterday said although government had disbursed funds,
the money could only pay January and February arrears.This, she added, has
affected many schools with many failing to find March salaries for teachers.
She said schools have threatened to close before the end of term slated
April 25. “The teachers are not going to receive March salary. We are just
gambling. We are borrowing money from some teachers whom we pay transport
daily, especially in the science discipline. The students are now
redundant,” she said in an interview.In some schools, the administrators
have resorted to charging students some money to supplement government
releases. According to Ms Bukenya, some schools are charging about
Shs50,000 but this is dependent on individual institutions. Mr Fancis
Agula, the assistant commission secondary education in the Ministry of
Education, yesterday appealed to parents to support the government

*Cohabiting is a hazardous and unlawful practice*

Last week there were several media reports about female protagonists
seeking for a separate law on cohabitation permitting its recognition as a
marriage after 10 years.Whereas it would have been men to advocate for this
as a way of evading cultural obligations to fulfill the customary marriage
requirements of giving gifts or ‘paying’ bride price, it is a big surprise
that women are pushing for it.Their argument is that men are reluctant or
not willing to enter into lawful marriage. Usually what makes a well-able
man to shy away from his in-laws is the conduct of his spouse towards him
and or his relatives. Unless women are willing redress this, no amount of
legislation will restraint men from doing otherwise.Their demand from a
falcon’s eye viewpoint arouses many questions and anomalies:-1. Have the
ladies in question or their intimate colleagues scaled the climax of
their careers without getting suitable spouses and are now in dire need of
off-setting this reproach or bearing children?This could pose a great
danger to youths especially students likely to be unknowingly
ensnared/coerced into marriage via the channel of cohabitation. The married
men jokingly flirting with them in the work place, drinking places and
parties could suddenly disintegrate their families.2. What parameters of
age or marital status should determine those eligible for cohabitation? In
such situation unscrupulous married men/women shall keep fleeing from one
spouse to another so as to settle in search for a ‘stress free’ marriage
with new spouses.Students or the under aged could equally pair-up and fall
prey to this practice, with the hope of maturing and ending in marriage
thus driving defilement rates to unprecedented proportions.3. Another
scenario likely to arise is cross-generational marriages where the aged
cohabit with the young. Since wealth/income increases with age, the young
will cohabit with the old targeting a share of their wealth. It is
reported that this is a common practice in some developed countries where
men fear to commit themselves into marriage to protect their wealth.4.
Cohabiting does not put into account many women who are not able to
maintain their families single handedly. After bearing children, she will
bear the brunt of their upbringing alone if the man flees before the expiry
of the cohabitation period.At such moment the splendor of her beauty has
vanished increasing her stakes of remaining a single mother the rest of her
life.5. In this era of urbanisation, cohabiting can breed and increase
incidences of abominable practices like incestuous marriages (between
relatives) since couples will take time to show their spouses or declare
their intentions to marry. They could exploit the option of being
forcefully declared married after the given number of years to avoid
cultural obligations. Societal disorders like same sex marriages are likely
to increase.6. It undermines the authority, operations and scope of
religious institutions especially churches which are key stakeholders in
ensuring that citizens fulfill their moral and family obligations and keep
the law. Cohabiting couples will claim to be law-abiding and assuage their
guilty conscience by invoking the law! In conclusion, the HIV/AIDS plague
is lurking in our midst. The progress made in the fight against this
epidemic could drastically be retarded by enactment of thoughtless
laws.Couples that are usually required to go for blood test before entering
marital union will take the easy path of cohabitation, which commences as a
secret affair and ignores such norm. This irresponsible practice could
easily drag the country into the abyss of shame and utter destruction. It
should be discouraged in the strongest terms possible and couples obliged
to lawfully marry before they live together.The writer is from St. Paul’s
College, Mbale.

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

PHOTO ESSAY: The Dreams in Their Eyes

PHOTO ESSAY: The Dreams in Their Eyes

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

On Women's Agency in Southern Africa

On Women's Agency in Southern Africa

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

Welcome, Women in the World!

Welcome, Women in the World!

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative