By our reporter
Land in Uganda and many parts of the world remain a critical factor of production and an essential pillar of human existence and national development.
Despite being a critical factor to production since colonial times, the country has never had a comprehensive land policy. The available policies and laws on land and natural resources have been quite scattered.
On this note Ms. Perry Aritua, the Executive Director of Women’s Democracy Network has advised government to enforce the national land policy in a way that it involves women to equally have rights to land like their male counterparts.
She made the remarks during a dialogue about “Policy Issues on Women’s Rights to Productive Resources’ at ongoing Gender Identity Week which is taking place at Makerere University.
Ms. Aritua said Uganda has passed several laws in response to gender based violence including those protecting women’s land rights However, the government is yet to prioritize the implementation of these laws in a way that impacts women positively, protect their land rights and reduce gender based violence.
“Violence against women has implications not only on individual families but on the country’s overall development, thus reducing violence against women and protection of their land rights needs to be an urgent legal policy and practice goal through enforcing the national land policy,” She noted.
She also stressed out that when it comes to agriculture, women carry out most of the agricultural work producing up to 80 percent of food and cash crops. Despite their essential contributions to the national economy, only few women enjoy secure rights to the land they till and they most of them are dependent upon male family members for access to land.
Meanwhile, Ms. Aritua attributed the blurring women’s rights to productive resources lack of financial literacy, lack of extension of services by government as well as lack of transparency and accountability.
From the audience, Mwanje Charles, a second Year student at the School of Women and Gender Studies said like women, men should also be groomed to be women activists since they are the main cause of inequality in the country.
He also advised girls stop being over dependent on men if they want to achieve the goal of gender equality.
On the other hand, Ms. Veronica Nakijoba, a lecturer at the same school urged women to be ready to stand to the challenges and costs of empowerment since most men think that equality means that their wives are able to stand and provide for themselves.