QuestionWhat is the status of women in Uganda?
AnswerAs with many countries around the world, traditionally the gender role of women in Uganda is seen as subordinate to men. With this being the case women in Uganda are often tasked with housekeeping, cooking and tending to community needs while the men work. However they still take on some economic responsibility within the home and are often trusted with their family’s finances, even if many have reported it difficult to find employment as a woman. This has been exacerbated by the revitalised US evangelical influence in the region, which asserts that the role of women is to handle domestic responsibility. In recent years, however, initiatives have been put in place by the government to help women into employment around the nation, but it is too soon to see the effects of this. In some respects Ugandan women have actually surpassed their Western counterparts, as many Ugandans see woman as both important religious and community leaders. However often women’s gains in social standing are little more than lip service, for instance: women have the right to own land and cultivate crops for their own profit. However in recent years, when crops have become lucrative men have often claimed this land off their female relatives, decisions that were often supported by the courts, leaving the females with nothing. Another key topic that limits the status of women is the practice of polygynous marriages, where a man can marry more than one women, this clearly reinforces aspects of male dominance. Some theorists have however suggested that this gives women an arena to combat male dominance, as they can cooperate against the domineering man. Following on from this a man will often grant ‘male status’ to his ‘senior wife’, this allows her to behave as equal to man and superior toward his other wives, this both reinforces gender roles and provides women with a platform to push for equal rights and responsibilities.
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