Naturally, women are leaders at home but few people recognize this. Having the house organized is domestic leadership. Learning personal administration, teaching the child how to brush the teeth, how to comb hair, sweep the compound, wash dishes, cook, iron clothes, etc. etc. is leadership. Often time this kind of leadership role is played by women.
However, the challenge is we tend to look at leadership as the people in political and business spheres. Sure, a woman who is a member of parliament or a chief executive officer of a business organization is easily recognized as a leader. But we need to raise awareness that women are leaders starting from home and this should be used as stepping to enter into the conventional leadership as we generally know it.Can women transport this domestic leadership to the work place? YES.
Whereas the number of women in political leadership in Uganda has gradually increased over the years, the numbers are still dismal when compared to male representation. Women continue to be under-represented in political leadership and related electoral processes such as voters, candidates, agents or electoral administrators. The under- representation and participation of women is attributed to a combination of institutional, structural constraints as well as cultural and attitudinal barriers that discourage women from being active in public life.
It’s no secret that women are extremely underrepresented at all levels of government, all across the world. Historically, all over the world women have had to seriously struggle to be recognized as leaders. Otherwise it has always been a male-dominated world. And it’s still a man’s world. As of now, only 13 women are heads of state out of 178 governments in the world.
Closer home, as a country, Uganda has come a long way to push for women’s political leadership. In 1962, only 2.5% of Members of Parliament were women. After the introduction of affirmative action in 1995, that number grew rapidly. This was because each district was required by law to have a women’s representative in parliament. By 1996, Uganda had 39 districts that means 39 women MPs.
By 2001 Uganda had 56 women MPs in the 7th parliament.
- 2001-2006: 7th parliament: 56 women.
- 2006-2011: 8th parliament: 99 women.
- 2011-2016: 9th parliament: 129 women.
- 2016-2021: 10th parliament: 160 women.
Note that apart from representing women at the district, some women have competed with men in direct parliamentary seats and won.
When compared to other countries the number of Uganda’s women MPs may look impressive but women are still a minority in the corridors of power. The 10th parliament has 455 members. This implies a ratio of 160 women including ex-officials to 295 men. The women’s numbers need to go up and the key to this may lie in understanding the concept of leadership.