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Women’s Emancipation in Africa – Reality or Illusion?

A Case Study of Mbarara, Western Uganda

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Paul Mutume

Women’s emancipation in Uganda is one of the most successful ventures an African country has ever undertaken. The reality of its success, however, remains a challenge in a society with a long-held structure of patriarchy and institutional, cultural beliefs.

After a critical analysis, the study challenges policy makers to ensure an environment free from all forms of violence and oppression against women – be it physical, economic, social, religious or psychological – and to empower them through education, ensure their financial independence and enhance their psychophysical stability. The study gives credit to women of all ages and indeed all walks of life who have effectively turned their sufferings into joy. It critically analyses the institutional mechanisms and concludes suggesting concrete measures and strategies towards gender mainstreaming.

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Chapter Six: Research Recommendations and General Conclusion

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6.1 General Research Findings

This research together with the findings of different development agencies and organizations, both local and international, show that by respecting the rights and freedoms of women and by giving them the ability to choose their partner, to have fewer children, more time between births, investing in children’s education as well their food and health needs, less demand will be made on the families’ resources, thus helping to reduce poverty371.

Still, the ability for women to decide when and with whom to have children will supposedly generate opportunities for them to gain education and employment, thus contributing to the development of their country as well as attaining economic empowerment for themselves. Interestingly, however, the Ugandan Demographic Health Survey (UDHS) highlighted how women who are involved in all household decisions desire the most children, whereas women who participated in one or two decisions desired the least.372 From this data, it can perhaps be suggested that Ugandan women who are involved in all decisions are also accounting towards the household income and feel they would be able to afford more children.

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