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Sexual Pacification in Politics in Uganda

“Perceived sexual networks were understood as organized, persistent and repetitive acts, comments, jokes, statements or other related practices that are perceived to be derogatory in nature, targeting individuals on the basis of their sexual nature.

Such perceptions and practices also consistently appear in the media in form of women leaders decrying sexual advances from male colleagues or even surveys on who the most beautiful (and not even the most handsome) MPs are.

In certain public circles, there is a perception that some women in politics are sexually exploited to be in certain positions of leadership. This perceived sexual identity may be in form of derogatory comments about their bodies or their relationship with male colleagues in different political deliberations.

At the district level where the study focused, women political leaders decried the sexualized language used to describe them. They indicated that quite often, women who choose to participate in politics are commonly perceived as prostitutes because they will not have the ‘courage’ to control their emotions once they are with other men, or that politics is fit for widows.

When women persist in participating in politics, they are asked - “what kind of a woman are you? You are big-headed”.

This is an extract a report by Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (ISIS-WICCE) in collaboration with The Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) titled: “Making a Difference Beyond Numbers: Towards Women’s Substantive Engagement in Political Leadership in Uganda.” A PDF of the report is available to download here.

Image Credit Wessex Scene


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