Government Commends Women for Their Countless Contribution and Strength in Responding To COVID 19
By Mariam namakula
As part of the International Women’s Day celebration held on the 8th March each year, government through the Ministry Of Gender And Social Development has commended the role of women in combating the spread of covid 19 especially in these trying times of the pandemic.
Being the yardstick used to measure the achievements of women annually, Minister Peace Mutuuzo noted that women have been at the fore front of every developmental aspect of this country throughout the pandemic.
“As we celebrate the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021, the Ministry Of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGSLD) recognizes the resilience, contribution and strength of Ugandan women in responding to COVID 19” said Minister.
Minister adds that the strong and effective leadership of women during and post COVID 19 has enabled Uganda to manage the virus so far and that was commendable.
Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development noted that women especially in the informal sector have continued to play a vital role in the development of the country through sustaining their families, communities during and post COVID 19.
Mister said, 95% of the Women in the markets continued to serve and “slept in the markets” during the lockdown from March to June 2020 in order to ensure that people in urban areas accessed food and supplies from the markets.
Minister added that well as food remains one of the key essentials of life, 82% of the agriculture workforce is comprised of women and being the main source of livelihood for 70% of Ugandans and with a 50% of export earnings, women continued to support the sector by producing food items during and post COVID-19.
Minster also noted that women have continued to show their level of resilience and devotion through their reproductive, productive and care giving roles that have made a significant contribution during and post COVID 19.
“While the burden of unpaid care and domestic work increased with children and the sick full time at home during the lockdown, women and girls continued fighting against COVID-19 in informal settlements, as frontline healthcare workers and caregivers,” she said.
Women constitute 70% of the health care workforce, exposing them to greater risk of infection and through all these efforts, women were able to sustain themselves and families throughout the COVID 19 lockdown, she adds.
Minster therefore noted that building on this resilience and strength, it was critical that government recognized the unpaid care work and take measures to reduce the burden on women and girls through improving access to quality services and facilities as well as promoting appropriate technology in recognition for their strength.
In line with this year’s national celebration theme “Building on Women’s Strength For A Better Future” government seeks to generate a national dialogue on the urgent need for a gender responsive National Covid 19 Response Plan to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on women and all communities in Uganda.
The plan is focused on building the county’s capacity to cope with the consequences of the pandemic by reaching out to women who have been at the center for this process.
According to the minister, the COVID 19 National Preparedness and Response Plan needed to take into account the above strengths of women and girls and build on them as the country recovers from the COVID 19 pandemic.
“For Women’s and Girls Effective Recovery during and Post-COVID-19 Government set out a comprehensive response plan to address the effects of Covid-19 on the social and economic wellbeing of the population,” she said.
Minister added that the formulation and implementation of a COVID-19 Response Plan will address among others the Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Violence Against Children (VAC), Scale up of ongoing initiatives for skilling and income generation for women, youth and other vulnerable groups, Increase Government’s investment in Programs that provide financing, inputs and affordable credit to women and youth for more positive outcomes, Support women to enhance their use of ICTs for economic and social development and disseminate and Implement the Revised Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Teenage Pregnancy in School.
Minister noted that as Uganda embarked on the implementation of the National Development Plan III, the 18 Programme Implementation Actions Plans (PIAPs) and the COVID 19 National Preparedness and Response, these were deliberate efforts to address the effects and impacts and emerging realities occasioned from COVID-19.
She said Uganda has undertaken serious measures which have greatly supported the control of transmission of COVID 19 and service delivery. Minister adds that it was time government effectively implemented sexuality education for young people in schools and out of schools the National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy, and all programmes on ending all forms of violence against children in Uganda as well as scale- up the provision of appropriate services to respond and mitigate the effects of violence against children.
This year’s National Women’s Day celebrations will be held at State House Entebbe with the presence of a few women movements’ leaders and the President as the Chef Guest.