Gender
equality can only be achieved if societies transform and develop, President
Museveni has said. 

The
President made the remarks today (Tuesday) in Nairobi, Kenya where he joined
other leaders at the International Conference on Population and Development
(ICPD 25).

The
three-day conference is being marked 25 years after the inaugural summit in
Cairo, Egypt that made a case for gender equality and supporting advancement of
women and girls. 

Addressing
the thousands of attentive delegates at the Kenyatta International Conference
Centre, President Museveni pointed out that gender inequality was as old as
man. 

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

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

I
urge the organisers of this conference to add to their literature the words
social economic transformation of the whole society.”

Citing
the case of Europe, President Museveni said they had made strides in gender
equality because they had managed to change the income fortunes of their
people. 

“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,” said the President. 

He
observed that creation of jobs is important in this fight because jobless, poor
people are vulnerable and susceptible to exploitation. The President added that
with joblessness, even good legislation on equality would run into
implementation challenges. 

Counselling
the young people and those making a case for gender equality, the President
advised that they must consult the elders and parents, whom he labelled
“consultants”. 

“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,” he said. 

UGANDA’S
COMMITTMENT 

About
Uganda’s commitment to support gender equality and fulfill the targets set out
in Cairo 25 years ago, President Museveni said the country would stand firm in
eliminating obstacles that stand in the way of empowering girls including
teenage pregnancy, child marriage and all forms of gender based violence. 

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

He
announced Uganda’s commitment to promoting universal access to all methods of
family planning and reduce unmet need of family planning access from 28% to 10%
by 2022. 

This
will be complemented with increase in financial support towards reproductive
health and family planning supplies and commodities. 

Mr
Museveni also, to the excitement of the audience, said Uganda will
operationalise the national sexuality educational policy framework that the
Ministry of Education and Sports launched in 2018. 

This,
he said, will provide a national formal direction for age appropriate and
culturally-sensitive sexuality education in Uganda’s schools. 

“We
will do this while upholding positive cultural and religious values of our
countries,” he said, adding that efforts to transform and modernize
society would also see the country invest in critical sectors like electricity
generation. 

The
summit was addressed by over 10 heads of state and government, who made their
own commitments towards achieving gender equality.

The lively audience was treated to a series of entertainment, including
a performance by legendary Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour, who got a
standing ovation following his song “New Africa”. 



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