HAPPY WOMEN'S DAY 2021! A REFLECTION

By Robert Adongakulu, former Parliamentary Candidate, Laroo-Pece, Gulu City, Uganda.

Robert AdongakuluToday, 8th March 2021, the world again congregates to celebrate International Women's Day (IWD)

Whereas, exactly when this celebration started is debatable, two facts are certain:

(a) It can be traced to an incident in the 1900s when working women in a garment factory in New York, USA protested unfair working terms and conditions.

(b) Since its adoption under the auspices of the United Nations Organization (UNO), IWD has since been a civil awareness day!

From a selfish point of view, I have been a beneficiary of great women; my maternal grandmother Auno Malyam Okwi a.k.a Min Owiny (RIP); my biological mother, Janet Akullu Adonga (RIP); my wife, Jacqueline Acayo Adongakulu; and many women who mentored me on, and off schools and in the world of work.

I have also contributed or am contributing to the generation of great women–in my daughters who are doing great in and out of school!

What is the meaning of this Day?

There are various views ranging from the noble to the outrageous.

The noble, as pointed out above, is about civil awareness. To highlight the plight of and visibility to the women and their (usually undocumented, unqualified, non-monetized and therefore unappreciated) roles in the politics, economy, and general wellbeing of society.

Celebrating Women's Day, Northern UgandaThis year's International Women’s Day celebration theme was: WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP; ACHIEVING AN EQUAL FUTURE IN A COVID-19 WORLD.

COVID-19 has indeed presented a special challenge for the last year. Locally, many men–the traditional earners from paid jobs outside the Government and CSO employed, found themselves jobless, yet the children had to eat, courtesy of women in what the Baganda in Central Region of Uganda call 'okuyiya' (fixing something).

Evaluating the role of women in leadership in this context is therefore spot on.

As we celebrate this year's IWD, let us acknowledge that women have, among other things, three key strengths that set them apart:

1. Ability to multi-task. A typical woman does more than three things at the same time, doing each with equal effectiveness, and efficiency. How many of us–men– would burn food if we must bathe children, do the laundry, read books, and do the dishes at the same time?

2. Emotional fortitude. Whereas many men think that most women folks get easily excited, as measured by their reactions when music is playing in any social gathering or when they are at any of the crusades around town, it is amazing how the level of women’s emotional tolerance breaks many men. I have the benefit of being a psychosocial professional, and witness women’s emotional strength in the context of HIV/AIDS, abuses from the war theatre, extreme poverty, etc. Is it any wonder that many men would sooner than later remarry upon their loss of wives, or do not live too long after the deaths of their spouses! (This may not be empirical determined, but anecdotal).

3. A low propensity for gross corruption. This is perhaps because women feel more responsible for their families, especially if they have children regardless of their marital status. They would avoid engaging in corruption, which may land them in jail, thus jeopardizing the welfare of their children. In contrast, men risk going to jail knowing that the mother of their children will take care of them.

So Happy Women's Day.