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By Joan Patience Atuhaire.
During the launch of the Imara Women’s Centre, Ms. Winnie Byanyima said “We have arrived.” and at this moment, my heart was full. Indeed, there was no better time to launch this initiative than on the 7th March 2022.
In the early 90’s, our sisters would have never imagined such an initiative, at the time, the women’s agenda had not yet taken shape. We were still trying to get women represented at decision making tables and this was when affirmative action positions were recognized in line with the Beijing 25 declaration and other national laws that were action points of that sitting.
We started to see the numbers of women representatives grow and today women hold 46% of local government positions, 33% of parliamentary positions and 43% of the cabinet positions. We have arrived reflecting upon the efforts our sisters made right from the 1960’s however every generation has its unique mission. For the issues that existed at that time, the pioneer members of the women’s movement have arrived. Their contributions strengthened and validated other movements to emerge and advocate for the women’s agenda in areas of health, sports, business, STEM among others.
As women rights activists, we must recall these firm contributions and know them by heart lest we forget our roots. We must look back with grace at Ms. Specioza W. Kazibwe and remember her contributions as the first female Vice president of Uganda or Hon. Rebecca A. Kadaga as the first speaker of the Parliament of Uganda. We must look back to the women activists that have demonstrated for different causes and acknowledge their efforts towards the serenity we now enjoy.
In the present, women rights activists are weaving the Imara women’s centre initiative in order to create a base that will consolidate all efforts towards gender equality in Uganda and across the globe. A launchpad for action, a women’s space for creativity, healing, innovation, networking among others, this centre will create powerful campaigns which will create transformational change.
Women’s efforts have always been “Imara” in nature. They have been bold, firm, strong, resolute and unwavering even in the face of limitation. The time is ripe to have a place to call home. A place where activists in their diversities are have an authentic voice for women’s rights.
In a world where so many communities have been split and continue to split on basis of ethnic, political, economic, religious or national identities, the Imara women’s centre is on a mission to create a singular identity for all women and activists. What’s a political movement without diverse representation, what’s a political movement without numbers? Whats a political movement without women?
As women, as activists, as Ugandans; this centre is ours. Its our base from which we shall consolidate efforts to advance gender equality in Uganda. In the present, this is our contribution to the women’s agenda. Be part of it by contributing to this transformational project.