Advancing gender-sensitive legislation in Uganda
The last few decades have seen Uganda enact several laws and policies to promote gender equality. However, the mismatch between Uganda’s pro-gender equality legal framework, and its implementation has led to the persistence of gender-based inequalities.
For example, succession laws in Uganda impede the protection of the rights of women, children – particularly girls and their rights to inherit the property of a decease relatives. The current employment (Sexual harassment) regulations only require an employer to have measures against sexual harassment when they employ 25 or more members of staff.
The Succession Amendment Bill (2018) and the Sexual Offences Bill (2015) seek to address these and other discrepancies which are perpetuating gender inequality and violence. WFD has worked with Members of Parliament under the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) to champion the passage of these bills through lobbying and advocacy strategies as informed by Political Economy Analysis (PEAs) on these bills conducted by WFD..
In August, WFD, UWOPA and other women-focused Civil Society Organisations petitioned the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda to fast track discussion of these bills before Parliament.
During the lobby meeting, the Speaker, said:
“The passing of pro-gender bills like the Succession Amendment Bill, Sexual Offenses Bill, Marriage and Divorce Bill and the Employment Amendment Bill is long overdue. These bills will be added to the order paper with or without the certificate of financial implication because they are key issues.”
Since then, MPs under UWOPA have continued to popularise the need to pass these bills on the floor of parliament and in the media.
Also guided by the recommendations set out in the two political economy analyses, WFD has facilitated platforms for UWOPA to build alliances with male MPs and lobby them to support gender equality and pro-gender policies. Male MPs have been particularly targeted because one of the major hindrances to the passage of the bills has been the lack of support of men in parliament who perceive them as “women’s rights activist bills”. Through its interventions, WFD has since identified men to at as champions to support the Succession Amendment Bill and the Sexual Offences Bill.