July 24, 2013

Audit Highlights Existing Social-Economic Disparities

In efforts to ensure that men and women in Uganda have equal access to both social and economic opportunities, the Government through the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) is using a gender audit to measure where gender imbalances exist and how to address them.

Aspects related to gender are coordinated through the Ministry of Gender Labour, and Social Development, which is mandated among other roles to fight gender inequalities in employment education and community life.

When asked to comment on the gender audit, the newly appointed Minister for Gender Labour and Social Development, Mary Karoro Okurut, acknowledged its importance in informing policies and measuring performance.

The 2012/ 2013 gender audit is specific on the point that although there are efforts to tackle gender differences, there still high dropout rates among girls in primary education (UPE) with girls at 53.5% , compared to 46.5% among boys.

The UPE completion rate stands at 42% and 55% of girls and boys respectively.

In secondary enrollment, girls stand at 45.9%, while boys are at 54%. When it comes to tertiary level education 43.1 girls enroll compared to 56.9 % of boys.

However the report notes that access by girls to education at all levels is still hindered by cultural practices, which still favour boy’s education to girls.

Commenting on this aspect Aggrey Olweny, Programme Officer at the Action for Youth with Disabilities – Uganda argues that gender disparities in education are more evident.

Olweny points out that although the enrollment numbers are promising; there is need to improve on the quality of education and give youth enterprising skills.

The audit also highlights that more women in Uganda are engaged in low paying jobs, compared to their male counterparts. Further the audit notes that women representation in parliament is at 34.8% while men stand at 65.2% this represents an inequality.

For Irene Kagoya a Programmes Coordinator at Akina Mama wa Afrika a local Non Governmental Organization that advocates for women issues, women contribute largely to the workforce and need to be supported.

Jennifer Williams of the Uganda Water and sanitation NGO Network sees the link between gender and other social issues such as water sanitation health and education. She argues that to ensure that communities access these services, gender issues must be inclusive of all development goals.

The gender audit is meant to assess policies, legislation and other regional and international commitments gender issues. All government departments are supposed to have an annual gender audits.

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