Gender Equality & Women Empowerment
Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a pre-condition for sustainable development. Providing women and girls with quality education, health care, decent work, access and ownership rights over property and technology, and equal participation in political and economic decision-making processes will lead to social, economic and environmental sustainability across the globe. To this end, UNDP Uganda focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment by integrating it into its key programme areas on Sustainable Inclusive Economic Development (SIED) as well as Inclusive and Effective Governance (IEG). Our work on gender equality and women’s empowerment is guided by global gender norms and standards, which include the Convention on all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, 1979) and the Beijing Platform of Action (1995) among others. To achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, we partner with UN Women and other stakeholders to support the Government of Uganda in domesticating global gender norms and standards, and implementing the National Gender Policy (2007), through the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD). In 2015, for example, we supported the Government of Uganda to take an early lead in localising and aligning the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including goal number 5 on Gender equality and Women’s Empowerment. The agenda has been aligned to the second National Development Plan (NDP II, 2015-2020), a landmark achievement for Uganda. The outcomes of this effort set a national framework for financing and monitoring women’s economic empowerment within agriculture, tourism and mineral development.
The UNDP Uganda Gender Equality Strategy
The Country office also has in place a Gender Equality Strategy (2014-2017) which focuses on transforming our development interventions into gender positive outputs that;
• Ensure that management and accountability systems address gender equality at the work place;
• Achieve gender-balanced personnel in the country office;
• And strengthen institutional capacity within UNDP and its partners to deliver on gender equality.
Our Goals and achievements
Our work on Gender equality and women’s empowerment mainly focuses on supporting partners in government, civil society and the private sector to unlock institutional barriers to gender equality through:
Capacity development for institutional transformation in the public sector: this is in form of supporting Ministries, Departments and Agencies to design, build, and strengthen their planning, budgeting, policy-making and accountability mechanisms. Our approach is transfer of knowledge and expertise through a project team funded by UNDP (with national and international expertise supervised by Government), within a ministry and using local mechanisms to implement the project. This approach was used to domesticate the Global Gender Budgeting Initiative and the Gender and Macro-Economic Policy Management Initiative (GEPMI). To date, gender and equity budgeting is a mandate of not only the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development but also Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Ministry of Local Government and the Equal Opportunities Commission. These government institutions ensure gender equity in public finance management, as provided for by the Public Finance Management Act (PFM, 2014).
Strengthening accountability for gender-responsive policies and legislation: We produce knowledge and engage in policy dialogue to facilitate the adoption of laws and policies for treating women and men equally. In this regard, we have worked with Uganda’s Parliament and the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) to safeguard and create accountability for women’s rights, by supporting the enactment of the 2010 law on Domestic Violence and the Anti-trafficking in Person Act (2009). UNDP provides technical and financial support to gender advocates in Civil Society Organisations to engage government on accountability for implementation of gender laws and policies. During the 2016 presidential elections, we worked with the Inter Religious Council, Elder Forum, and Forum for Women in Democracy to set up the Uganda Women’s Situation Room, in partnership with UN Women. The Women’s Situation Room trained more than 500 women observers, who were deployed to 15 districts considered to be hotspots during the elections. Observers used the Women’s Situation Room’s 24-hour hotline to report any incidents that disrupted the peace during the elections and after polling. The reports were analysed by a technical team and passed to police and courts of law for appropriate response.
Promoting innovations for reducing gender gaps in the private sector: Through a partnership with the Private Sector Foundation (PSFU), Uganda became the first country in Africa to endorse the Gender Equality Seal for private enterprises. The Private Sector Foundation in Uganda (PSFU) signed up to adopt the Gender Equality Seal and offered to have its members implement it. The pledge by PSFU to make business adopt the Gender Equality Seal, is an innovation for closing gender gaps in corporate environments. We are working with the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association (UWEAL), to promote increased participation by business women and professionals in public procurement. We commissioned a vendor mapping study at the UNDP country office, to generate data on the value and percentage of procurement purchases awarded to women-owned businesses and professionals by UNDP. This data was validated and used by Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association (UWEAL), to organise a learning event that equipped our staff with knowledge on mainstreaming gender in public procurement. UNDP-Uganda now has gender-balanced representation on vendor selection and contract evaluation committees, and has adopted a supplier-selection checklist that will enable disaggregation of vendor information by gender.