Legislators in patliament have urged government to increase investment for advancement of gender equality in innovations and technological change through budget allocation to enhance access for women to opportunities in ICT.
The call by MPs under Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) comes ahead of the International Womens Day (IWD) held annually on March 08.
In Uganda, this year’s national IWD celebrations will be held in Kiruhura District under the theme; “Equal Opportunities in Education, Science and Technology for Innovation and a gender equal future”. The theme emphasizes the need for investment to advance gender equality in innovations, technological change and education in the digital age, specifically promoting women and girls’ participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and information Communications Technologies (ICTS) as a precursor to their engagement in the digital technologies.
In commemoration of IWD which runs for this whole week, UWOPA rallied the population to join government and partners to take stock of efforts put in place to guide gender responsiveness of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and information technologies in the country.
During a press breifing today at parliament, the MPs emphasized need to increase investment for advancement of gender equality in innovations, technological change and education in the digital age through budget allocation to enhance teaching of sciences through equipping laboratories, enrolling more qualified science teachers.
The MPs also called on Parliament to pass and ensures implementation of gender equality laws aimed at protecting rights of women and girls in STEM and ICT such as; the Sexual offences Bill 2022.
Hon Brenda Nabukenya the Vice Chairperson UWOPA stressed need for government to enhance salary renumeration for scientists to make such careers attractive for the young girls to take up. UWOPA highlighted mindset change in schools through career guidance and the importance of having more women and girls involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Mubende district woman MP Hon Hope Grania Nakazibwe said there is need to address the social cultural aspect in gender equality which remains one of the major roadblocks towards attaining total inclusion of womwn in development.
The legislators called for regular conduct of oversight checks on schools in districts to monitor uptake on STEM and ICT by girls, identify challenges being faced and also draw country wide strategies on how to increase number of women and girls’ participation in this field.
The MPs also want authorities to conduct constituency public education programmes on career guidance to encourage women and girls to understand importance of embracing STEM in their day-to-day operations.