By Denis Bua (Wizarts Foundation Internee)

Over the years, women have been greatly subjected to discrimination in the political arena leading to their failure to stand up to the tests of leadership. The principal factor that has since continued to be a defect to women’s engagement and participation in political leadership is the belief in the vulnerability of the women to handle leadership

Many at times women are not given equal considerations and participatory rights as men which greatly hinders them from utilising their potential to lead.

Women’s involvement in leadership, embraces and introduces new energy to the struggle. Various examples of great women leaders that depict a big picture to the leadership arena include the right Honorable speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, NRM Secretary General Hon Justin Kasule Lumumba and many more others.

Figure 1: Honorable speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga

The discussion therefore about women in leadership should be what they are capable of bringing to the table and not their vulnerability as women. They have a lot of potential and ability to lead and cause impact as compared to men in certain incidents. It is very imperative to first indulge in the factors that actually dictate their level of participation in
any given society.

The incorporation ability and participatory space that the institutional political parties offer to the women should be given great concern because apparently many political institutions lack the aspect of gender equality and inclusion. The shifting sense of ownership and responsibility by the political institutions to their own members gives no room for assurance that women will be easily embraced and groomed into great leaders under such a setting.

However, much as there are still many hindrances and limitations to women’s active participation in leadership, there are still many alternatives and ways that women employ to fit in the leadership circle which include; starting up of individual political and leadership institutions, directly standing for public office and looking for sponsors/funders to support their leadership ambitions.

From the legal perspective, powerful bodies like the United Nations and UHRC recommend institutional changes to establish gender equality in basic rights as the cornerstone of greater equality in political participation.

Similarly, policies and programmes that promote equality in education and access to information, including legal literacy can strengthen women’s urgency and their capacity to greatly participate in the political arena.

Unlike the previous years, in this 21st century however, women have steadily come of age, claiming places at the high tables of governance, politics, business and sports etc.

It’s encouraging that the female gender is now fighting for their space in the leadership sphere notably with the various different efforts of women emancipation and empowerment programs that aim at fostering equal participation in leadership. Women as a core in leadership deserve to be treated with equal respect and trustworthiness.

Evidently a great number of women have appeared as strong, resilient and capable leaders who have come out to compete for power for one of the highest office in the land that is the speaker of Parliament.

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