Pastor Jessica Kayanja started by giving a face to the typical Ugandan woman. Where was she?
Over time there had been a shift in generations from the financially dependent woman to the woman who is the financial backbone of her homestead. Many women had inadvertently been forced into single parenthood because of disease and dysfunctional family settings. A woman who was previously crippled by her cultural norms and traditional beliefs had now been thrust to the forefront of economic responsibility despite the presence/absence of a husband.
She added that there were many who felt that the woman given face to today was disadvantaged. She begged to differ on three fronts:
- Women were family and community oriented. Immediate relatives, neighbours and friends would be the sole beneficiaries of a woman’s investments hence money made by a woman was most likely reinvested into her community which was a good thing. A woman’s prime interests were the health of her household, their education and proper nutrition. The community would therefore stand to benefit from such instinctive needs as, the building of hospitals, schools and physical markets.
- Women were endowed with a unique ability to save. There were more women than men involved in saving schemes, investment clubs, microfinance projects, cottage industries and small scale agro-based businesses demonstrated by a higher success rate than those initiatives financed by bank loans. Many a rags to riches story would date back to a mother who saved her earnings from a small market stand devotedly to put her child through school.
- Naturally women were good managers. It could be said that poor governance equals corruption which has been a cancer to any economy. She sighted Uganda’s economy which has greatly profited from good governance of women at the helm of key organizations in the public and private sectors as well as civil society. This has been a great opportunity to acknowledge the likes of:
- Our very own Right Honorable Rebecca Kadaga, the first ever female speaker of Uganda
- Allen Kagina reputable leader of the Uganda Revenue Authority and the Uganda National Roads Authority
- Jennifer Musisi Executive Director of the Kampala City Council Authority
- Lady Justice Julia Sebutinde first African woman to sit in the world court, the International Court of Justice where she still serves
- Hon Janet Kataaha Museveni, the First Lady of Uganda who doubles as Minister of Education and Sports
- Doris Akol, Commissioner General Uganda Revenue Authority
- Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director Oxfam International and first female aeronautical engineer in Uganda
- Dr Monica Masanza, Ugandan Consultant Epidemiologist fondly nicknamed the ‘Ebola Warrior’ for a successful mission against the disease in Liberia
- Josephine Waphakabulo, CEO Petroleum Authority of Uganda
- Barbara Ofwono Buyondo, Founder and Proprietor Victorious Education Services
- Maggie Kigozi, the first Executive Director of the Uganda Investment Authority
- Amina Hersi Moghe, Entrepreneur and multi-million-dollar investor
She boldly said that “with money coming back into communities, with robust banking systems characterized by micro finance schemes transforming into full-fledged banks, and a better infrastructure built around the instinctive needs of a woman and her managerial skills, the economic destiny of Uganda is safe in the hands of a woman”. Pastor Jessica drew an analogy of the proverbs 31 woman from the Christian Faith that she subscribes to.
In urging governments to walk the talk on women empowerment and gender equality she reminded the delegates that a true democracy stipulated that the government was “You” and “I”. So we could not point our finger at a particular office or individual to solve the economic plight of a woman. It is with this mind-set that she was compelled through the Girl Power Ministries to do her best to accomplish the ambitious feat of empowering the woman at her doorstep.