International Women’s Day: The Thing About Women

Women Executive panel

Last Saturday 2 March 2013, I convened a meeting in Kampala the capital of Uganda, to explore the business case for women as part of global supply chains . The panelists were some of the most successful business women and executives the country has to offer including the Minister for Trade and Industry.

By the end of the day I came away feeling that the meeting had in fact raised more questions than it answered. And these are that ones that stood out for me

  1. Are women disadvantaged by their gender?
  2. Are women capable of empowering themselves or this is the job of men?
  3. Do women hold onto cultural practices that hold them back?
  4. What are women like as employers of other women? Are they for instance more understanding when it comes to issues of child care etc?
  5. Are women deserving of special treatment when it comes to global supply chains?
  6. Are women their own worst enemies?
  7. Do Multinational companies prefer to work with women?
  8. Are there gender barriers in business?
  9. Is the rural woman deserving of special treatment over an urban women in business?
  10. Should employers take extra steps to ensure that a woman’s income doesn’t end up in the man’s pocket/drinking den?
  11. What is happening in the Home? Are girls being raised with enough confidence in themselves and or their abilities?
  12. How about collaboration? Can women leverage their networks in order to supply into global chains or are they working in isolation?


Employees of Perfect Roses Uganda

What about the rural Woman? The Minister for Trade and Industry spoke passionately about the plight of the rural African woman and cited several challenges faced by the rural woman including cultural practices such as polygamous marriages, access to knowledge/information, financial training etc. The Minister challenged the audience to take action to address the plight of the rural woman.

But is the minister right to be concerned about the rural woman? I certainly think so. Whilst the urban woman has choices and is aware of her rights this isn’t necessarily the case for the rural women, who typically passes her days doing working the land for very little reward.  When this becomes too much to bear, the young women in particular give up and head to the cities. The city often has very little to offer this rural to urban migrant and according to one taxi driver this type of woman often turns to prostitution.

There seemed to be unified agreement that in order to adress some of these challenges, it is necessary to ensure that agriculture as seen and treated as a serious business and make it pay, this would in turn stem the rural to urban migration trends.

Young girls in rural areas should be supported to remain within the education system for as long as the boys are. It was further agreed that the education system should be examined to ensure that as well as academic grades, girls should acquire skills that would ensure their financial independence .


And then there is the media!

  1. Does the media give women a raw deal by promoting poor images of women?

Like I said I came away with more questions than answers, this is not such a bad things actually as it will force me to continue to explore the issues raised.

And the thing about women?  Are we really our own worst enemy?

Join the conversation 


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Uganda@50- Is there any good news out there?


Uganda celebrates its Golden Jubilee today that is 50 years of independence from the British Government. A lot has gone wrong over those 50 years and it is very easy to write off a country by focusing on what is going wrong. This  is not to say that there no challenges of course there are and a lot of work is required to address these challenges, but  for today’s post I will focus on what the  positives


  1. In 2011 Lonely Planet voted Uganda amongst the top ten destinations for 2012
  2. Kampala is the safest city in Africa
  3. Some of the 790 Mountain Gorillas leave in Uganda’s tropical forests- Bwindi and Mgahinga
  4. Uganda has 1000 bird species
  5. Uganda has some of the world famous waters- Lake Victoria and the River Nile
  6. If you would like to go skiing in the tropics, head to Uganda’s highest point- Mount Rwenzori aka Mountains on the moon
  7. Ugandans are the friendliest people in the world
  8. The White Rhino has been successfully reintroduced in Uganda
  9. Uganda’s Tourism is the fastest growing in the region


  1. Uganda has reduced inflation from nearly 240% in 1987 to 5.4% in 2012
  2. August 2012 the African Development Bank issued a local currency bond on the Uganda stock exchange and this is the only the second country in Africa where Africa development bank has felt that there is enough credit rating, the first one was south africa, and the second one was Uganda last
  3. Coffee of Nebbi District Western Nile is the 2nd best amongst African Coffees
  4. Uganda’s Shea Butter is more prized than any other
  5. In 2007  Uganda hosted the Queen of England and other Heads of state from the Commonwealth



  1. Uganda was one of the first countries in the East African region to introduce Universal primary education which has benefited children from Easter n Congo
  2. Uganda has some of the best schools within the East African region and these are attended by  mostly students from Tanzania
  3. Uganda has the youngest female Mp at 19 years of age
  4. Ian Clarke Irish man who has lived in Uganda for several years was voted in a s Local Councillor for the ward he calls home
  5. Uganda has some of the most fertile soils in Africa- you can grow almost anything here
  6. Growth in Technology is playing a huge role in the development of Uganda

My challenge to you readers is to add to this list

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Uganda at 50: The Condition of Ugandan Women


On 9/10/2012 Uganda will celebrate 50 years of independence from the British Government. In these series of Uganda at 50, I will give you a glimpse of life in Uganda today. In today’s post are a few facts about the condition of women in Uganda as reported in Uganda’s National Development plan 2010- 2015.



I have written about most of these facts on this blog. you will recall this post about a Ugandan woman who was left to die on a hospital ward because she could not afford to pay £66  and access to land in Kisoro SW Uganda and those affected by Kony’s War

The  question I ask today is

What will the next 50 years look like for Women in Uganda?






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