Minister Urges Women Corporates not to Consult Husbands on Investments

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The Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Development Betty Amongi has castigated working women in the country for locking up themselves in cultural norms that affect their own development.

Amongi specifically criticized the practice of women consulting their spouses about investing their money or executing developmental projects out of their resources.

She was speaking at the inaugural Women Economic Empowerment Forum organized by the Uganda Bankers Association under an initiative aimed at addressing “the myriad of issues that hinder the progress of women in the banking/financial sector professional setting, and ultimately the women entrepreneurs”.

Amongi assured the corporates that consulting their spouses is one reason the female gender has lagged behind, adding that she only informs her husband after she has already executed her plans.

She outlined the initiatives that the government has put in place to emancipate women saying that for various reasons, women still lag behind their male counterparts, especially in income and employment opportunities. This, she said, has affected the progress of, not only Uganda, but the global economy, citing World Bank reports.

The Bank says the difference in earnings has denied the global economy 165 trillion dollars, while if this was worked on it would add at least 25 trillion dollars a year to the global GDP. She revealed a World Bank grant of about 1 billion dollars that will soon be given out to women entrepreneurs through commercial banks that agree to lend it out at the set low-interest rate.

Sarah Arapta, the chairperson of the banker’s association, was happy that women now account for more than half of the 19,362 employees in the financial sector. She, however, said this is only visible at the low-level positions because the numbers drop according to the seniority of the positions, with, for example, the 36 member institutions of UBA only having eight chief executive officers.

This, however, has been a huge shift over the last eight years since there were only two females; Edigold Monday and Annette Nakawunde of Bank of Africa Uganda and Finance Trust Bank, in the top positions.

Arapta says the Women Economic Empowerment (WEE) is a UBA pioneer Social Impact initiative that will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal 5; Achieving Gender Equality and Empowering All Women and Girls. Michael Atingi-Ego, the Bank of Uganda Deputy Governor, appealed to all corporations and the banking industry in particular, to establish or strengthen affirmative measures to make promotions of women at work easier.

Uganda has been hailed for policies that have encouraged women to take up positions in government and the private sector which have been dominated by men. Also, the growth in the number of women-owned businesses has outpaced that of male-owned businesses by 1.5 times, growing at 236 percent compared to 153 percent for businesses belonging to men.

With the growth figures, it is hoped that the women in Uganda will be among the fastest to catch up with men in economic emancipation. Elsie Attafuah, the UN Development Program Resident Representative in Uganda says the changing statistics on gender representation and employment spell a better situation in a few years to come.

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