ARUA: When travelling from Pakwach to Adjumani via Arua and Moyo districts in West Nile region, one cannot fail to notice sweating women carrying children on their backs and produce on their heads as others engage in communal digging while the men sit under makeshift shades by the roadside gambling and begging from politicians who may pass around.
Yet such women will not have the authority to spend the money they have got after selling the produce without consulting the husband who never had input in its production let alone taking a decision on own health concerning family planning.
Such are some of the injustices women in rural area in West Nile go through when they get married.
These were some of the issues raised during a belated woman’s day celebrations at Aroi Sub County organised by Reproductive Health Uganda under the Prevention plus project on Tuesday.
The project, which is in 17 Sub Counties of Arua, partners with men to end gender based violence among communities in the district and through engaging various stakeholders.
The Coordinator of the Project at Reproductive Health Uganda Mr Sam Mwandara said majority of women living in rural areas were still being denied opportunities because they did not know English.
“They are being called rural women instead of women in rural areas; they are denied opportunities simply because they can’t speak English, the language that ‘rural women’ is derogatory and is used to demean woman who stay in rural area” Mwandara said.
The West Nile regional police spokesperson Ms Josephine Angucia speaking during the occasion said despite various strategic policies and legal regimes set by the government to protect women and the girl child several communities were still undermining the efforts.
“Women are still beaten and punished in homes by their husbands and the cases are not reported for fear that the husband paid dowry, the girls are given to their urban relatives to work as maids while others look after their young ones as mothers attend to other chores while the boys go to school” Angucia stated.
According to the 2016/2017 Uganda Demographic and Health survey, 49% of women and 41% of men in west Nile believe husbands are justified to beat their wives for feeble reasons such as burning food or arguing with the man.
Angucia said women in rural areas were also being denied opportunities to child spacing by use of family planning methods which by their husbands despite having many unplanned for children which reduces their lifespan and endangers their health.
She appealed to women and men to complement one another for a better society.
The Local Council III chairman of the Sub County Mr Levi Dema castigated a section of women in the area who had taken to heavy consumption of alcohol to demonstrate their liberation from the men saying they were taking a wrong trend.
Ms Margret Ayiseni, the chairperson Arua district Service Commission called for mutual respect of husband and wife in families if better citizens are to come in the next generation.