The School of Women and Gender Studies on 13th January 2023 held a symposium on Women’s Economic Empowerment and Women groups in Uganda to increase awareness on the need to build evidence and a community of practice on women economic empowerment and women groups in Uganda.
The one day symposium held at the Senate Conference was intended to popularize evidence-based research approaches that support knowledge translation for relevant policy making and best practices in the field of women’s economic empowerment.
The specific objectives of the symposium were to enhance the awareness of the importance of fostering Women Economic Empowerment and using innovative solutions to improve the evidence base and increase information storage and uptake.
The other was to facilitate opportunities for networking, collaboration and exchange of ideas with government and NGO leaders and experts in evidence-based practice and education on women empowerment, and to reinforce the focus on the implementation of information exchange with policy makers to increase the efficiency of evidence-based decision making.
Women Economic empowerment defined
Delivering her key note address as chief Guest, on the status of women economic empowerment the Commissioner, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development Dr. Angela Nakafeero decried that the work was still huge in terms of women achievements economically.
Recognizing the school for supporting the ministry in terms of technical capacity for gender equality and policy, Dr. Nakafeero said the ministry has banked on the schools evidence to inform the legal process and policies including the design of programmes.
Nakafeero reiterated that an economically empowered woman is one with the ability to succeed and advance economically and at the same time, with the power to make decisions and act on these economic decisions not wishful thinking but with commitment, working hard and having a vision of where she wants to be.
“It is about making investments. Yes, we earn salaries on monthly basis, but how much are we able to save, reinvest to earn the extra income in the next years? Are we making investments and creating wealth for ourselves, families and for the country and advancing the quality of life?
We are not advancing if we are investing in aspects that are not going to enable us earn an extra income tomorrow. So, we need to question ourselves what investments we are making. If u are not earning an income from your investment, that is not economic empowerment”, Nakafeero explained.
Women economic empowerment according to Dr. Nakafeero entails having skills of making more money and investments, resources required and the ability to compete in the open labour market where goods and services are being exchanged as well as having fair access to economic institutions.
Nakafeero decried the pullback attitude of women fearing to get loans from commercial banks saying, that is where government puts their money. She observed that programmes that have succeeded in putting women into the economic arena are those curved out for women empowerment expressing the need for competition and mobilization of women to compete in order to benefit from government programmes and opportunities.
She also querried whether women can sustain the status of their needs and time after work. She called on women to start making bold investments to sustain economic benefits and gains and ensure the benefits cut across generations. Nakafeero implored participants to be wise and focus more in building asset base and not building liabilities that can be carried on across generations at an individual, group but also collectively as women of Uganda.