ARUA. The vice-chancellor of Muni University Prof. Christine Dranzoa has decried the ‘baby steps’ of progress in attaining gender equality across the African continent.

She warned that there can only be a drastic change on the continent after recognition of gender equality and urged all members of society in different positions of responsibility to build confidence in one another.

“All that men can do, women can do and we should be partners in development, research, socio-economic drive, fighting the gender disparity, publications and in holding each other accountable,” Prof. Dranzoa emphasized.

She was giving a keynote address at the Uganda gender champions workshop held at the University on Wednesday.

The gender champion’s workshop that strives to promote institutional gender equality, develop a common understanding of terminology and gender mainstreaming and stereotyping and identify key activity areas required to continue institutional gender equity drew participants from different universities and higher institutions of learning across the country.

Prof. Dranzoa said 31% of girls in the West Nile region of Uganda between the ages of 14-18 years drop out of school, a scenario she described as shameful.

She also through a personal story appealed to persons in authority and responsibility to identify, nurture and groom talent especially in the female folk.

Dr. Femi Nzegwu, a senior monitoring and evaluation, organizational learning, research and development specialist from the International Network for the Advancement of Science and Policy (INASP) Oxford, the United kingdom said there was an under-representation of women in science and research.

“We have a vision of research enabling development and we work with organizations across the world in order to further this and we have partnered with Uganda national council of science and technology (UNCST) to address the issue of the lack of parity of gender in higher education and research,” Dr. Nzegwu said.

She said development needs to be inclusive so that you have women represented at all levels of seniority, research, policymaking, in an equal fashion to get a perspective that is informed by all the voices in society.

Ms. Immaculate Nakanya, a science and policy analyst with UNCST said there is a hindrance in the system for women to advance their careers and research.

Ms Nakanya 20 11 19Ms Nakanya speaks to the media. PHOTO BY RIMILIAH AMANDU

She, however, said through the Uganda gender alliance in higher education and research, some institutions had had positive strides in advancing the cause for the working woman.

“Some institutions have decided to have mother zones where a mother can carry her baby to work with the nanny and you continue with your work in a conducive environment,” She said.

The Uganda gender alliance was formed out of a national dialogue in 2018 to among others advocate, and offer support to institutions in areas of gender parity.