Introduction The republic of Uganda is an origin of many cultures, beliefs, and traditions. It is a landlocked country located in the east of Africa. It’s neighboring countries with Kenya to the east, South Sudan to the North, Democratic republic of Congo to the west, Rwanda to the south-west, and south of Tanzania. In the southern part of the country includes a sizable amount of Lake Victoria which is shared with Kenya and Tanzania. With the majority of the Ugandan population being of African descent, it consists of three distinct ethnic groups, but has 49 different groups overall. The rest of population is made of Asian, Europeans and an oscillation of refugees escaping from neighboring countries (countries like Sudan, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Record show that Uganda has a population of 41 million people currently with a male/female ratio of 97:100 (NANSUBAGA 2011).
Uganda is one of the many countries with a diverse post-colonial experience that were able to progress with the act of political liberalization. It is in a process of rapid social transformation, the outcome of which is not self-evident. In order to achieve this goal of political liberalization within the country, Uganda is challenged on how to resolve the seemingly intractable religious, regional, and ethnic differences that have had devastating consequences in its recent history (Tripp 1994). Problems the country faced during the first years of its independence which includes the constitutional crisis following the abolition of the kingdoms; demands by the Buganda Kingdom for federal status and its refusal to accept a unitary state; and a division between the power and the rest of the country.
This essay will be on how women played an integral role on gender equality with the rapid growth of formal and informal organization helping bring women a step forward in gaining equal participation in public administration. This will also show how women have been able to broaden the space for their freedom. Also, throughout the essay it will be a critical analysis on Aili Mari Tripp’s essay, Gender, Political, Participation and the Transformation of Associational Life in Uganda and Tanzania, which questions if there any developments that will provide a base for an institutional change that could serve as an alternative to either political, economic, and social order based on secretarinism. With research that the author has examined on women’s organizations and association that have be able to serve a purpose on secretarinism (following from the 80’s to the present) that have emerged in the 80’s and have made a significant impact that could answer those questions.
Tripp applies two main reasons how the women’s group were able to serve a purpose in Uganda. The first reason being “the face that women of diverse backgrounds have found themselves sharing common interest in fighting for greater inclusiveness in the current process of political liberalization, which has been left out of formal politics” (NAME 2011, p. 22). The second reason touches on the deepening crisis that placed greater pressures on women to become key providers within the household, necessitating new organization strategies. Women worked together forming associations for economic survival and instilling the belief that one’s own survival can exist by being dependent on the survival of others.
Many of the women in Uganda have come together to form income-generating activities, savings, and the provision of social services such as childwatch. This essay will also focus on how Tripp explains ethnicity and religion did not play a major role within these associations. Most of the women came from different backgrounds, but did not want it to based around religion or ethnicity. Last the article will touch on Tripp defines the concept of civil society in a non-western context. Major transformation have begun to happen in Uganda which has resulted in a country of relative stability and prosperity.
Feminism and the women’s organization has made an impact in Ugandan politics. The Beginning Through the 1970’s and early 1980’s, violence from civil wars, internal conflict, and institutionalized violence began when the leader Idi Amin came into power in 1971, which lasted until 1986 ending with a stable power for the country. This inflicted a heavy toll especially on the women. Economic hardships hit many homes particularly with the women and children who lived by taking opportunities to make money which was previously only available to men. Since 1986, Uganda’s government is run by a no-party system which was formed by the National Resistance movement.
There are some exceptions with parties who operate unofficially but are affiliated more along religious and ethnic lines. Tripp gives examples like the Uganda Peoples Congress, which consists of all members who are non-Baganda Protestants and the Democratic Party with a majority of its members being catholic (CITE PAGE). With the country facing so many economic crises, Tripp was able to show how the women used this to take a step forward and switch the roles of how women were portrayed before the 1970’s. In the beginning of the essay Tripp states that the type of essay he is writing is an heuristic (enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves). He intended to use the information that he found to be an answer to what some of his fellow colleagues were asked which involved problems of “institutional weakness in Africa and shedding light on new base of organization and possibilities” (AUTHOR YEAR, PAGE CITE). Stating that Uganda is in a rapid social transformation with an outcome that is not shown clearly. Although, there have been different stages of social transformation, there have been past indicincies of stagnation when all development effort proved futile with the main reason being due to political turmoil.
Uganda is one of the fastest growing countries of new women’s organizations. Besides the organizations for women were for with a heavy religion influence. Organizations like the Young Women’s Christian Association formed in 1952, the Mother Organization formed 1908, the Uganda Catholic Women’s guild in formed in 1963, and the Uganda Muslim Women’s Association which was established in 1949. But in 1986 when the regime had shift into a new one which was led by Yoweri Museveni, a large amount of distinguished groups were created. With a great amount of organization coming into existence, in 1988 the government decided to form a Development Network of Indigenous Voluntary Association (CITE WHERE THE INFO IS FROM). In the past, women in Uganda were often considered as subordinate. Rules may vary if the women lived in a urban or rural setting, but in a socioeconomic status they were still considered as a second class.
Women had the same traditional roles when compared to other women of the world. Polygamy still exist giving some room for male dominance,but this seen to be very controversial because in some marriages it was a chance to be seen as equal among other men. For example, one of the wives would be chosen as the head wife and would be able to share their opinion with other men. Women in rurals are of Uganda were expected to kneel when talking to a man and they could not the eat foods that were considered to be “good” like chicken or eggs yet they were the one who had to prepare all the meals for them. Girls as young as the age 7 are often circumsized and sent off to an older man on an arranged marriage.
According to the website Countries and their cultures, women were taught to accede to the wishes of their fathers,brothers, husbands, and other men to demonstrate their subordination to men in public life (CITE). During this time it was very hard for women to find employment, even though it was them who provided financially with substantial contributions to the family and economy. Tripps explains that the women were able to take a step forward in political liberalization and democratization, which brought a small middle class and lack of a democratic tradition and severe economic crisis. The women were not only able to better themselves, but when coming together with other women in the community help establish a foundation and opportunities to better themselves economically.
Tripp repeatedly states how their are trends of the women making a change with the different conditions they faced. These events that have happened gave women in Uganda the opportunity to show that they are well-rounded, hardworking and able to move from traditional roles that women had do in the past. Since then, many women had become more involved in saving, income-generating, market, farming, and animal husbandry groups. Women were forced to start worrying about what is necessary, by finding a way to raise money and take matters upon themselves. Many women began to be the breadwinners of the family and had been able to take care of their family at the same time. This disruption of traditional life sparked new avenues for women to acquire economic independence and gender equality. Economic Crisis The economic crisis that began in the late 1970’s played an important part which was instrumental part that increased women’s associations to broaden the type of activities they do to make money with new the economic pressures coming into effect. The minimum wage fell drastically by 26.
4, from 1980 -1983 alone. It resulted in a long period of political instability which had caused devastation throughout the country. The urban economy was beginning to improve during the 1980’s, however people still had the same living standards compared to the very bad levels attained in earlier decades.
Tripp states that the women’s economic strategies became especially prominent in the 1980’s because of women’s key role in sustaining the household. He gives example how in urban areas were hit hard with layoffs, cutbacks on social and welfare services and the imposition of austerity measures. The women were responsible for so much in order to provide the necessities for their families.
The women came up with an idea to expand their involvement in urban farming and small business through self-employment or joining together with someone else. Tripp saw this as an array of various collective coping strategies, which formed new connections and associations amongst the women. A lot of women tended to play roles in informal or private sectors enterprise because they had less ties with the formal economy and had less access to jobs that would allow them make a formal source of income, because many of the women did not have a proper education.
Showing that even as women are becoming more invested in the economy they are still experiencing discrimination when wanting to work making a formal source of income. This resulted in the women having find alternate sources of income that would help provide for their families. During the 80’s women had to be more reliant on their source of income being private or informal. This shows how women would still dealt with being seen as second class to men even when they were the ones taking the initiative to make a source of income.
In the rural areas, many of the women had to pursue informal economic activities because in attempting to inherit land of their own, many women faced discrimination and unfair pressure. In many Ugandan cultures, women do not have to own land. They believed that the land is to be owned by the land or the clan and is held by men, though many women typically live and farm on it.
According to Tripp, only 7 percent of the women in Uganda owned land in this time (SPECIFY PERIOD), but most of the population in the country buy their agriculture from women who grow 90 percent of the food crops and another 60 percent of the cash crops. Many of the women who were single, divorced, and widowed who wanted independent sources of livelihood often had to enter into trade or some of small craft or production without the right to own and benefit from owning any sort of land. Women want to be more inclusive on the topic because land ownership, property may be able to empower women in their negotiations with other members, organizations, and within the community and society overall. Today, the Uganda Land Alliance (UL A) works with traditional leaders, both men and women, to help increase awareness on property rights of all persons and how equality in property ownership can enhance community welfare. Advocates have also promoted property co-ownership for married couples and respect for the rights no matter the gender or age, everyone is treated equally. Most of the women who are invested in urban trading started move towards working with small businesses, ranging from all sorts of activities. Women who are involved in large-scale entrepreneurship often helped to grow the women working within the small-business community by investing in them.
Specifically, some of the women became involved with Dubai Trades which involves trading in Gulf States. Others were still able to benefit and make a good source of informal income. Tripp writes thats many of the women did not have access to patronage and personalistic networks that were tied to the state, but instead had to broaden their networks with an emerging bourgeoisie class in Africa that involved not extracting and taking away resources of the state. The women had strategies that would benefit within their organizations and not disrupt resources within the state. Most women who were invested in entreprises that produce goods for external and internal markets were not politically motivated or based themselves on gaining any seat in a political office.
They were strictly focused on business and had no intention on mixing the two. Tripp explains that it is because women have less access to formal institutions than men and therefore have tended to remain within the second economy in which economic activities are unregulated and unlicensed. (cite) In order to find a balance between cultural sensitivity and social change is not from the matter of financial resources, rather the change must come from within by allowing women the same access to formal institutions as men. Within the private and informal economic sector, “a growing number of organization of varying nature.” There has been influx in the amount of women joining small groups that more specific to how they are collectively able to provide for each other if need when trying to make money. Many of these groups are involved in farming, animal husbandry, tailoring fishing, and other items that they are able to trade, also being able to trade crafts that they make like alcohol, and services such as hairdressing or creating traditional clothing. Today, even older, more formal women’s associations such as the Mothers union, YWCA, and Catholic Women’s Association are willing to provide training and assistance in starting income-generating projects.
Yes in the past this associations were formed to provide woman the education they need to socialize women into being in a role they believe women should stick to domestic opportunities. This stigmatizes women for employment and gives them a limit to what kind of work they would to do. Setting them back to stay be unequal based on their gender.An association called upato (translated abato in english), had less than half of the women who were self-employed or employed. In the article, Tripp found statistics that woman apart if the association made an average of 26 percent more than other self-employed women, because it was a possibility that their businesses were more financially secure. Though the association was, at first, focused on an older age group, the organization has shifted its focus to a younger group of women. Many of who were involved in upato associations would fall in the age group of women ranging from 35-50, while the women who were in ages ranging from 20-35 more likely to be self employed.
Tripp implies that women who had small children more financial demands within their household which limits them from having an extra amount of funding to the side that could be saved. Also, women who involved themselves in these associations who were more likely to be self employed had a higher possibility to be somewhat educated. Women’s associations have opened many new doors for women in both an economic and political sense; as such, these organizations have given women a sense of financial responsibility, and have concurrently allowed them to maintain a stable environment in which these associations thrive.Struggling to be included It was clear-cut that women still struggled to be considered inclusive within the society that still perceives women as second class. Tripp believes that women’s have a great potential in bridging sectarian affiliations which is involved in the common almost everlasting fight to be included in the political process and within public life. It was in 1978 Idi Amin ordered a mandate to which created the National Council of Women (NCW). He made a ban that stipulated women’s associations have to be affiliated with and abide by all rules under the NCW in order to exist. Most women’s organization had a deep resent towards the council saw it as having the potential to violate their freedom of association which the women thought would never seize to exist.
Many of the women’s professional and religious based groups felt that should go underground for a while and had to function with their activities discreetly. The NWC was used to politically control the independent organizations women had and selfishly benefit from them. But in 1985, the Decade of Women’s conference in Nairobi was seen as a critical moment in the women’s associations historically. Many of the women sought they could reinvigorate their organizations by joining an active women’s movement. The National resistance movement thought this was an opportunity to pressure the government to instill prominent leadership positions for women. This was the perfect time to propose this because the government was in a current state where they were not able to restrict any service and economic initiative towards women’s associations. It would be more beneficial to work with and realize they can play integral role that would uplift Uganda’s economy.
In 1988, the Ministry of Women in Development and Ministry of Youth merged together. The goal of ministry seeked for equal right amongst women and men. Tripp explains how one their goals was to bring in the voices of what women are concerned about in the national and district development programs, to forster women’s income generated activities and enterprises and would possibly jeopardize full participation in decision making within the political and development process. In 1991, the ministry started a nationwide discussion within the local population in hopes to propose a new constitution. With issues concerning of eliminating any forms of discrimination that is sought towards woman. Many issues that were discriminatory to women including marriage, divorce, inheritance and property laws, and employment regulations to be repealed. After receiving pressure about women having more representation on the national body in Uganda, the number of women that have been appointed remained low.
In 1992, only four women who were cabinet ministers and one woman who held the key position as the minister of agriculture. Now women have representation on both national commissions and parastatal boards. In 1962, when Uganda received its independence, there was a 2:88 female to male ratio in the parliament; in 1967 the parliament had no females in representation. In 1980 only one female in the parliament, but then after the NRM the number of women increased to 39 out of 263 members. Today there are 28 members out of 80 that are women with 11 of them being full ministers and 17 being state ministers, which makes 35 percent of women having representation in the parliament.
The increase of women’s representation in has been accredited to the effort they have put towards recognition of their abilities and gender equality. While women in Uganda have