President Museveni gender equality
President Museveni urges societies to promote and embrace gender equality. Photo/Twitter

President Museveni: Transform societies to achieve gender equality and enhance economic development and social transformation

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has urged societies to promote and embrace gender equality to enhance economic development and social transformation.

Museveni said that gender inequality is old as man, and for countries to achieve equality at all levels, there’s a need for societies to change their ancient ways of living.

“Human beings have been here for four and a half million years. Most of that time, gender inequality has been there. Therefore, I want to point out that you cannot achieve this equality if the society does not change itself,” Museveni said.

“You cannot keep a pre-capitalist society in existence and you think you will achieve easily gender equality and other goals,” Museveni added.

President Museveni made the remarks during a three-day International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD 25), held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

This conference marked 25 years after the inaugural summit in Cairo, Egypt that made a case for gender equality and supporting advancement of women and girls.

The summit was attended and addressed by 10 government State leaders who declared their commitment to achieving gender equality in their respective countries.

Among them included President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Amina Mohammed, UN Secretary-General, Natalia Kanem, UN Population Fund Executive Director among other heads. 

Continuing President Museveni asked the organisers of the conference to promote and strictly focus on the social-economic transformation of all societies.

Museveni gave an example of Europe which no longer have problems with gender equalities, after changing the mindset of their people which in turn transformed them economically.

“You cannot keep a traditional society and then make it achieve middle-class goals. Even Europe was like this. It was just in the last few centuries when middle-class values were achieved. In the UK until 1911, the women were not voting,” Museveni stated.

Museveni adds that a society full of poor, jobless people is more vulnerable and susceptible to the exploitation of all forms, and according to him the creation of jobs should be a priority in the fight against poverty, because even good legislation on equality, would be difficulty in a poor society.

Elders and parents according to President Museveni must be consulted in the process of counselling young people and matters involving gender equality, because they are the best consultants in this case.

“I heard the slogan ‘girls must own their bodies’. Speaking as a veteran husband, father, grandfather and freedom fighter, I advise that even when you own something, you must engage consultants. The young people must seek advice,” Museveni advised.

President Museveni informed the delegates who attended the conference that Uganda is committed to support gender equality and fulfil the set targets, 25 years ago in Cairo.

He said Uganda has a firm foundation in this case and working hard to eliminate every obstacle that stands to block girl child empowerment, gender-based violence, child marriages, teenage pregnancies in respect to positive cultural and religious values.

“We shall scale up technical and vocational training to create life skills relevant to the labour market. We will do this while upholding the positive cultural and religious values,” Museveni noted.

Also, the president informed delegates that Uganda is committed to promoting universal access of all birth control methods and by 2022, the country will have reduced the gap of the unmet need from 28 per cent to 10 per cent.

He says this will be supported by an increase in financial support towards reproductive health, commodities and family planning supplies in the country.

Plus, operationalising the national sexuality education policy framework, launched in 2018, by the Ministry of Education and Sports which caused excitement to his active audience.

This according to President Museveni will be passed on to students in schools in accordance with their age, positive cultural values and religion.

“We will do this while upholding the positive cultural and religious values of our countries.”

He said all the efforts are meant to transform and modernise societies and then invest in critical sectors like electricity generation.

The delegates were entertained by music legendary, Youssou N’Dour from Senegal best known for his song ‘New Africa”.