The linkage between Women’s Leadership and Sustainable Development
Leadership is the art of motivating an individual or group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. For women, being active in the process of leadership is especially important, as women’s life experiences, needs, issues and priorities are not the same as men’s. According to Uganda National Housing and Population Census 2014, Women constitute 52% of the country’s population. In spite of this, proportional representation is not evident in the decision making process.
Even with affirmative action that has enabled women to secure more than 1/3rd of local council positions and parliamentary sits, discriminatory practices still hold women back. Women have been marginalized in the area of governance meaning that decisions made do not necessarily represent their aspirations and address their practical and strategic gender needs.
CEWIGO has embarked on strengthening women’s leadership programs to instill the necessary leadership qualities and skills and to empower women leaders to reclaim their space by having full control of all aspects of their lives. In an environment where patriarchy is deeply rooted in society, leadership skills enable women to compete on leveled ground with men and help them to fight against gender biases and stereotypes. Key to sustaining these efforts is to strengthen advocacy for women’s leadership and linking programming to the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals aim at ending poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, sustainable cities and communities, and peace, justice, and strong institutions.
By advocating for women’s leadership, most of these Sustainable Development Goals can be attained and this will facilitate achievement of political, economic, and social transformation at national, sub regional and continental levels.
There are several other Global and Regional Commitments aimed at ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls not only as a human right but as a prerequisite for accelerating sustainable development for all. It has been proven time and again, that empowering women and girls has a multiplier effect and helps to drive up economic growth and development across the board.
In this respect, it should be observed that strengthening women’s leadership will significantly contribute to Sustainable Development Goals across the world.
By: Odessa Cheeke and Claire Rowlands, CEWIGO Student Interns (June to August 2018)