By Najib Mulema

As the world prepares to commemorate the International Women’s Day next week on Thursday, Makerere University School of Women and Gender Studies in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden have organized a gender identity week to celebrate the women in a holistic manner.

The week will run from Monday 5th March to Saturday 10th March 2018 under the theme “Transformations for empowerment of rural women and girls: Opportunities and challenges”.

While addressing the press at Makerere University on Friday, the dean of the School of Women and Gender Studies, Dr. Sarah Ssali said during the event that academics, gender activists, development partners, media and students will interact with the general public to tackle topical issues affecting the Ugandan girl-children, boy-children, women and men.

Daily activities will include dialogues, debates and paper presentations on Women’s Achievements, opportunities and challenges; positive masculinities; social economic transformation, women and representation; policy issues on women’s rights to productive resources and women and political participation.

Ms Susanne Spets (Left) and Dr. Sarah Ssali (Right)

“This week, therefore, underscores the role played by gender identities in transforming societies as it reflects on how the identities of both females and males play out in the empowerment process of women,” said Dr. Ssali.

The activities will also sensitize people on how gender identities influence people’s capabilities at home, in the work place and everywhere they go,” she added.

Ms Susanne Spets, the Sweden Deputy Head Mission in Uganda who also attended the conference, revealed that her country through its Feminist Foreign Policy has supported a number of gender based projects in Uganda with an aim of ensuring equality between men and women as well as ensuring that women and girls enjoy human rights, representation and resources.

Dr Consolata Kabonesa (Left) and Ms Gity Behravan, a Research Advisor

“Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy aims to achieve equality between men and women and ensuring that women and girls enjoy human rights,” noted Ms Spets adding, “My government is serious about gender equality and women’s rights. I am proud to represent the first feminist government in the world. I believe that women and men should have the same power to shape society and their own lives,”

Dr Consolata Kabonesa said this year’s Gender Identity Week will be full of resourceful speakers including Dr Anna Maria Olsson, the Sida Program head, Prof Edward Kirumira the principal of the College of Humanities and Sciences, Dr Maggie Kigozi, Prof Goretti Nassanga among others.