Our chief guest (Mr. Alex B. Okello, Permanent Secretary of the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity, Office of the President and Member of the CPAR Uganda Board of Directors), I remember when he used to work with the Uganda Human Rights Commission, they interviewed me, and I lost the job.
Why did I lose the job?
They asked one question, they asked me: “How will you relate, how will you attend to your husband and your children?” And that is the problem I had at that time. My husband was working somewhere else. I cried in front of these people. After the interview I asked myself: why did I do that; but it was something affecting me as a woman.
Both boys and girls go to look for work, but the situation of women defers from that of boys. When you apply for a job, you may meet a certain person in some office who will try to sexually harass you. So, you find this girl failing to get a job. It happens in our society.
Let us say, you are a working woman, a young girl working. You have a husband and this husband will not allow you to attend workshops. Is this study (“Challenging Categories: Educated Unemployed Youth as Institutional Innovators in Rural Uganda” research project), going to bring out those things? Are we going to try and interrogate those issues?
In the audience at the Challenging Categories launch ceremony at the CPAR Uganda Lira Learning Centre, on Saturday, 17th April 2021, were (left to right in the fore: Dr. Ben Jones of the University of East Anglia, UK, the Project Principal Investigator; Mr. Rama Omonya, an advocate who was invited and has agreed to be part of the project policy working group; and Ms. Norah Owaraga, Managing Director of CPAR Uganda, and is one of the three project leaders and among the four members of the project policy working group.
Why do many women go to church?
There was this roleplay (performed at the Challenging Categories launch ceremony) about church. So many women go to church. Why do they go to church? You remember in the case of Kibwetere (Joseph Kibwetere was one of the leaders for “The Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God” cult), so many women were burnt in the church.
- Why did they go to church?
- Did they really go to pray, or they had problems?
I got to understand that many of those women had problems in their relationships. So, the church as an institution, there are so many women who go to church, how are the voices of these women being attended to? Are they listening to these women? Are they trying to understand their challenges? Some of those things I hope will also come out in the study.
This text is extracted from the speech that Ms. Akullo Betty gave at the Challenging Categories project launch ceremony at the CPAR Uganda Lira Learning Centre on Saturday, 17th April 2021. Ms. Akullo is a child from Lango, married in Acholi. She is a lawyer and a gender activist. Her initial view of the Challenging Categories project is: “The composition of the team that is going to do the study – we have women and men; boys and girls. I am happy that women are there. Most times, women are not recognised. I am happy that the team is going to build the capacity of both boys and girls to do this study and to influence situations in their communities. We, a team of four, (policy working group) we are going to work together with the team of investigators, and we are going to pick up some policy issues. And we believe that we are a great team and we will be able to do a lot. I will be supporting the team with knowledge as far as gender issues are concerned.”