CSW side event on Measuring legal frameworks: a message from the Minister for Gender of Uganda
Monitoring legal frameworks that address non-discrimination on the basis of sex
SDG indicator 5.1.1: Whether or not legal frameworks are in place to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex
A side-event to the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women organised jointly by the OECD Development Centre, the World Bank and UN Women.
Remarks by the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development of Uganda, Ms Jane Mpagi
New York, 20th March 2017
- Since the 1990s, Uganda reinforced its legal framework for gender equality and women’s empowerment
International and regional legal frameworks
- The CEDAW was ratified in 1985.
- The Protocol of the African Charter on Human and People’s rights on the rights of women in Africa was ratified and signed in 2010.
- Signatory of the African Union Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality and other sub regional protocols on eradicating sexual and gender based violence in the region.
National legal framework
- The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda outlaws discrimination on the basis of sex and provides for equality between men and women.
- The Constitution guarantees citizenship to non-citizen spouses of Ugandan women and children of those unions. It guarantees equal rights at marriage, in marriage and at its dissolution.
- The minimum age of marriage for both girls and boys is 18 years.
- The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda provides for affirmative action for political representation eg. one woman parliamentarian per district. The Local Government Act also provides for a third of women’s representation in the local councils. Affirmation action for women within the affirmative action slots of other special interest groups such as youth, PWDs, Workers etc.
- The Constitution also guarantees the property rights of women.
- The Employment Act 2006 which guarantees equal pay for work of equal value and also provides for maternity leave (from 45 calendar to 60 working days) and paternity leave (4 days) and sexual harassment regulations at workplace.
- The Government has put in place laws to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in public and private spheres such as the Penal Code, the Prevention in Trafficking Persons Act and its regulations, the Domestic Violence Act and its regulations as well as elimination of harmful practices such as female genital mutilation. Others are still under discussion such as sexual offences bill and the Marriage and Divorce Bill.
- Other laws include:
- The Land Act that guarantees occupancy rights. The Succession Law is under review to bring it in tandem with constitutional provisions.
- The Public Finance Management Act 2015 which provides for resource allocation for gender equality issues.
- The Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act – Regulations of 2014 provide for reservation schemes for women youth and other interest groups to supply goods and services to Government entities.
- In addition, Uganda has put in place policies, strategies and action plans to eliminate harmful traditional practices that impact negatively women and girls, including the Child Marriage Strategy and the National Action Plan on Women.
Institutions and mechanisms that promote nondiscrimination
- The National Machinery of Uganda uses a gender mainstreaming approach which is enshrined in the Uganda Gender Policy. Each MDA, local governments and private sector is mandated to mainstream gender equality issues and uphold nondiscrimination principle in their routine work including policies, programmes and plans.
- The Equal Opportunities Commission has been operational for the last 7 years and mechanisms have been put in place to monitor the legal frameworks that address non- discrimination on the basis of sex.
- Uganda Human Rights Commission is another human rights institution that monitors human rights in the country including women’s rights.
Despite the progressive legislative framework and institutional mechanisms for gender equality, there are still challenges:
- Implementation to benefit all women.
- Eliminating the different negative cultural practices which are contrary to the legal frameworks.
Monitoring the legal framework
In order to monitor the implementation of the SDGs, the Government of Uganda has created the National Priority Gender Indicators, which are in line with Uganda’s commitments under the SDGs, other international treaties and agreements including the CEDAW and BPfA as well as the national development plan. This a product of three agencies: the National Gender Equality Machinery, the Ministry of Finance, The Bureau of Statistics and the School of Gender and Women Studies in Makerere University with the assistance of UN Women Uganda Country Office.
Regarding the indicator 5.1.1 on whether or not legal frameworks are in place to promote, enforce and monitor quality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex, Uganda has adopted a specific indicator: the percentage of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and local Governments with policies, plans and budgets that promote gender equality and equity.
This indicator will be tracked through the assessment of the Budget Framework Papers and Ministerial Policy Statements and the Gender and Equity Compliance Certificates signed by the Minister of Finance in the Parliament.
- Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development of Uganda
- OECD work on gender equality
- Uganda SIGI Country Report – 2015