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Category Archives: General

Women most affected by poverty

Poverty can be defined not only as the lack of incomes but also the lack of means to satisfy basic social needs as well as feeling powerless to break out of the cycle of poverty, insecurity of a person and property. Poverty has faces and is caused by factors including among others inadequacies in access to natural resources, human factors, financial assets, social capital and physical infrastructure

Uganda remains one of the poorest countries of the world. Poverty level was recorded at 31.1% in 2006according to the UNDP 2006,  Uganda Human Development Report ranking. In terms of numbers, over 7 million people live in chronic poverty according to a research on chronic poverty. Poverty is also mainly a rural phenomenon with 48% of the rural population living below the absolute poverty line compared to 16% of the urban dwellers.

It is important to note that the greatest percentage of the rural population is composed of women. Women are said to be the poorest of the poor. This highlights the significance of addressing gender dimensions of poverty and the fact that poverty has increasingly become feminised. However, poverty cannot be universalised and has different dimensions. In Uganda the principle dimensions of poverty include gender, livelihood, location and seasonality.

Gender disparities exist in education, mortality rates, health and other social and economic indicators and are greatest within poorer income groups. Gender inequalities impose large costs on the well-being and health of the poor, diminishing productivity and the potential to reduce poverty and ensure economic growth. In most societies women have more limited opportunities to improve economic conditions and access services than men do. Usually women and girls bear the brunt of gender inequalities

In regard to division of labour, women provide 70% of agricultural labour force and are responsible for 80% of food production and all production processes and like else where in the world, women in Uganda have limited access to land and other resources, little control of the existing resources or of the income realised from the sale of these products including surplus from sale of food crops where labour input is highest. Women’s dependence reduces their contribution to the reduction of household poverty.

Women also lag behind in terms of education levels and participation in community development activities due to lack of mobilisation, time and failure to see the benefits of participation. Approaches to poverty therefore need to take into account the different needs of women and men and involve women as subjects in economic initiatives and in planning and implementation of development initiatives for drastic changes to be realised in poverty eradication.


Outcomes of the ‘Battered Woman’s Syndrome?

Uganda woke up to a surprise with one of its former Army Commanders and a major general murdered by a lover in Namuwongo, a suburb in Kampala. The death of the general attracted many headlines in the mainstream media such as ….general dies in ‘Kandaha’, a lion killed by a rat! Name it….. The lady who confessed to the crime in self defence was first charged with the crime of Manslaughter but has now been remanded in prison with charges of murder.

 The death has left so many questions with some indicating that the cruel some murder that left one of Uganda’s Giants dead was a planned plot aided by assailants after the general’s life. It’s unclear whether a lowly woman could have murdered a general who fought fierce battles for years and retired unhurt. This has also left a lot of debates given that such murders have in the past been committed by mainly men. Am sure women advocates on Violence Against Women will face challenges trying to convince the public that men are the perpetrators of VAW. And sure will not be surprised if an organization fighting against VAM crops up. The truth about the motive behind the murder or death is known to only Lydia who whether in self defence or with motives to steal or hurt the general is likely to spend rest of her life in prison and more so that she killed a lion. The truth is yet to be established but in case it was self defence will she find justice given that she is a low class woman who could hardly get a lawyer to represent her?

A friend introduced me to a concept I had never thought of and this drove me quick to think about this incidence and write this article…. ‘The Battered Woman’s Syndrome! Inquisitive to know what this really means ‘Jane’ (not real name), told me that battered women may keep their anger and succumb to abuse for along time but when it erupts one may be shocked at the outcome no matter how weak they are!

Could the death of one of Uganda’s Lions been an outcome of the battered Woman’s syndrome? Not sure but the power relations between the two was too unequal and this cannot be ruled out! A rich educated, military giant, with power and status in society Vs a poor woman whose background little is known, with little or no education, staying in a two bedroomed house sponsored by the general, no job and indentified as a sex worker etc Whether in self defence or not sure poor Lydia will rot in prison having touched one of the untouchable! Still watching this space! Still watching this space!