How Far Have Women Come Since Independence?

Saturday, October 23, 2010
By ugandansabroad

By Adeola Oladele and Rebecca Harshbarger–

Ugandan women abroad celebrating Independence Day.

Earlier this month, the international Ugandan community gathered in New York City on independence day to reflect on the changes to the status of Ugandan women in the past 48 years.  Women in the Diaspora and Ugandan Merchandise organized the women-focused event at Hartley House in Manhattan.

Ugandans Abroad and East African Business Innovative Consultants also helped sponsor the night.  New Jersey-based DJ Clein spun tunes for the night, and the organizers served generous amounts of local East African food.

The impact of HIV/AIDS, the conflict in northern Uganda, and political instability in the 1970s and 1980s often had a brutal toll on Ugandan women.  Still, the Ugandan government has made advances in attempting to eliminate discrimination against women, and has helped them find more opportunities in the military, finance, corporate life, and agriculture.

Harriet Zaffoni, who runs Ugandan Merchandise, with Pius Bugembe, chair of the Ugandan American Association of Greater New York.

Recently, the Ugandan Women Parliamentarians Association, a Kampala-based parliamentary caucus, had large victories when the government passed the Marriage and Divorce Bill, the Domestic Violence Act, and the Female Genital Mutilation Act.

The first modernizes the marriage and divorce institution in Uganda, the second punishes domestic violence perps, and the latter prohibits female genital mutilation, which is primarily practiced in eastern Uganda and the Somali community.

Ugandans Abroad reporter Adeola Oladele created this special video that we feel really captured the event.  Check it out, and please share it with your friends.

Happy Independence Day!!
Ugandans Abroad

Adeola Oladele, a friend of Uganda, is a broadcast journalist who frequently reports about the international African community.  Oladele runs the website African Spotlight, a news website that spotlights Africans in the diaspora.  ”The aim of this site is to tell their stories, celebrate their successes and feel their struggles,” she says.  Oladele is a native of Nigeria’s Kwara State, and based in Brooklyn, New York.

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