Sexual Harrassment in Uganda Essay
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN JUDGES –UGANDA (NAWJU) A Proposal for: Sexual Harassment Laws in Uganda and Stakeholder Linkages Project Submitted to: Uganda Good Governance Programme (UGOGA)-Danish Development Agency (DANIDA) By: Harriet Nalukwago Ssali & NAWJU THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN JUDGES – UGANDA (NAWJU) The National Association of Women Judges- Uganda (NAWJU) is a non-governmental organization composed of over 40 jurists who are focused on enforcing women’s rights and increasing women’s access to the legal system.
NAWJU is a long-time active member of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) and hosted the IAWJ Seventh Biennial International Conference in May 2004 with the theme, “Increasing Women’s Access to Justice”.
PROPOSED PROJECT BACKGROUND & SUMMARY The National Association of Women Judges of Uganda (NAWJU) is pleased to submit a Project Proposal to the Uganda Good Governance Programme (UGOGA) –Danish Development Agency (DANIDA) for the amount of Twenty Million Uganda Shillings only (Ugx 20,000,000) to implement the Sexual Harassment Laws in Uganda and Stakeholder Linkages Project.
Sexual harassment violates the rights of the individual to privacy. The victim is exposed to unwanted acts such as touching, fondling, kissing, patting and so on. And this makes the body of the victim public. The victim has nothing to hide any more. On the other hand, sexual harassment is form of discrimination on grounds of sex. The victim is treated the way she is because of her sex. And this is a matter of serious concern. Although it can happen to both men and women it is the women who are more of the victims. Sexual harassment has also proved to pose health hazards. According to Fitzgerald Studies by psychologists show that harassment can be a serious threat to women’s psychological and physical wellbeing, it also has medical repercussions. Sexual harassment causes anxiety, depression, headaches, weight loss (or gain), nausea and sexual dysfunction. Victims have also been found to suffer lowered self-esteem. ’ Naira Khan says that: ‘Sexual harassment like any other form of sexual victimization, functions as an agent of social control and is an expression of contempt and hostility for any woman who ventures out of the society’s acceptable role as a home maker into the public and masculine arena of the workplace. In Uganda, Dr. Sylvia Tamale conducted a study on gender and parliamentary politics. Her core findings were that despite their political status, women parliamentarians had to contend with the issue of sex on a day to day basis. To quote her: ‘Not all women parliamentarians I interviewed were willing to openly discuss the issue of sexual harassment. A few told me that they preferred not to talk about it; others denied ever having been victims of it.
However, further probing and couching the question in a less direct fashion almost always revealed that sex was an issue that most women legislators had to deal with on a day to day basis. ’ Rebecca Kadaga (2000) in her study on subtle hostility, found that sexual harassment against women ministers was rampant. This comes out from the following quotation from her research, where a respondent said to her: ‘A male colleague asked me to go to his office to discuss about certain services for my area.
When I got there, the man grabbed me and tried to kiss me…I told him, that was not what I had gone to his office to do…I left without discussing the services that had taken me there in the first place. The same respondent goes on to say; Our status does not protect us from abuse…for instance I went to visit the managing director of a utility company to discuss provision of water in my area…And I was already a minister, instead, the man made passes at me. ’ ‘The sexual harassment of women at the workplace has existed as far back as when omen first went out to sell their wares but it has only recently been recognized as behaviour that impedes the development and health of women at the workplace. ’ A number of scholars like Nathalie Hadjifotiou, Catherine Mackinnon, Naira Khan and others have authoritatively written about sexual harassment. But broadly speaking, sexual harassment refers to the unwanted imposition of sexual requirements in the context of a relationship of unequal power. Central to the concept is the use of power derived from one social sphere to lever benefits or impose deprivations in another.
One scholar who relates sexual harassment to women in the work place is Nathalie Hadjifotiou (1983), who says: ‘A broad definition of sexual harassment would include repeated and unwanted verbal or sexual advances, sexually explicit derogatory statements or sexually discriminatory remarks which are offensive to the worker involved which cause the worker to feel threatened, humiliated, patronised or harassed or which interfere with the worker’s job security or create a threatening or intimidating work environment.
Sexual harassment can take any forms from leering, ridicule, embarrassing remarks or jokes, unwelcome comments about dress or appearance, deliberate abuse, repeated and or unwanted physical contact, demands for sexual favours or physical assaults on workers. ’ Sexual harassment may comprise a single or continuous act or omission and can manifest itself in acts such as: • Jeering • Ridicule • Embarrassing remarks or jokes • Unwelcome comments about dress or appearance • Deliberate abuse • Repeated and/or unwanted physical contact. • Demands for sexual favors • Or outright physical assaults
Law Applicable Various Statutes and Laws mention in one way or another the circumstances surrounding sexual harassment (see appendix). However further research is needed to determine whether or not these laws have fully addressed the sexual harassment issue. PROPOSED INTERVENTION Intervention NAWJU believes that now is the time to identify partners who can promote sexual harassment laws and links with concerned stakeholders. In order to do this NAWJU will have to engage in a number of lobbying activities for civic awareness to accelerate the adoption of sexual harassment laws.
The key starting point is to engage in talks with stakeholders who are already involved in spearheading awareness of sexual harassment laws in various focal areas. NAWJU will meet with community leaders, institutions of learning, policy makers, government officials, as well as judicial officers and monitor their activities in this area. It is upon this foundation that UGOGA – DANIDA should consider partnering with NAWJU to promote research and policy linkages on sexual harassment laws.
NAWJU has already been in touch with a number of partners who are anxious to see that these various activities take off for the benefit of Ugandans. MONITORING & EVALUATION The monitoring and evaluation of the Project will be conducted throughout each phase. A results framework & action plan will be used as monitoring tools. An experienced observer from IAWJ will monitor overall Project and the development and dissemination of information and provide feedback. Collaboration
In executing the Project, NAWJU intends to collaborate with other NGOs working on Human Rights issues for consistency and to avoid duplication. NAWJU also plans to work with the Judicial Studies Institute to assign time for training judicial officers. Project implementation The project will be administered by a taskforce comprised of two senior judges with at least ten other members. Among the duties, the task force shall ensure the effective management of resources, and that financial management systems are in place. Project Management
The project shall be managed by a Programme Manager assisted by a Project Coordinator and a Research Assistant. NAWJU has a full time Accounts Assistant and an Office Manager who help in the day to day running f the NAWJU secretariat. The secretariat staff is answerable to the Task Force. The Project office will be based at the Court of Appeal Building on Parliamentary Avenue at the NAWJ office. Other NAWJU Projects NAWJU, in partnership with IAWJ, and with support from Irish Aid implemented the Jurisprudence of Equality Project (JEP).
As a result of this joint NAWJU-IAWJ initiative, over 200 judicial officers and others in Uganda acquired skills in: 1) identifying gender bias in the domestic law and its application; 2) violations of women’s human rights; and 3) application of international human rights norms and principles to the domestically. In addition to JEP, the NAWJU has also engaged in other notable activities. In 2010, in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development, and with support from UNFPA, NAWJU simplified and translated gender sensitive legislation into six local languages, namely: a) The Domestic Violence Act; ) The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons act; and c) The Prohibition of Female genital Mutilation Act In addition, a member of the Association authored a play on sexual harrasment, which was produced on video and performed live in Kampala. VI. APPENDIX Lists of laws applicable: The Constitution of Uganda (1995) The Penal Code Act (Cap 106) The Police Statute No 13 of 1994 Employment Act 219 Factories Act 220 Minimum Wages Advisory Boards and Wages Council Act 221 National Social Security fund Act 222. Trade Union’s Act 223 Trade disputes (Arbitration and Settlements) Act 224
Workers Compensation Act 225 Pensions Act 286 Public Service Act 288 Public Service (negotiating Machinery) Act 289 Armed Forces Pensions Act 295 ————————————————- The Law Development Centre Act 21 of 1970 . ——————————————– [ 2 ]. The international association of Women Judges is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation of more than 400 members at all judicial levels in more than 90 nations. [ 3 ]. Fitzgerald L. (1993):Sexual harassment; violence against women in the workplace, American psychologists Journal vol. 8 no. 10. [ 4 ]. Naira Khan(1996): Research and public education on sexual harassment at the workplace Report on workshop for professional and skilled women [ 5 ]. Dr. Sylvia Tamale(1999);When Hens Begin To Crow; Gender and Parliamentary Politics in Uganda, Westview Press, Colorado. [ 6 ]. Rebecca A. Kadaga(2000): Subtle Hostility, An insight into workplace related Harassment of women in the Ugandan cabinet; A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of a Diploma in women’s Law of the University of Zimbabwe. 7 ]. Nathalie Hadjifotiou (1983): Women and harassment at work. Pluto press Ltd. [ 8 ]. The Jurisprudence of Equality Project (JEP) was an innovative judicial education programme that particularly addressed women’s Human Rights. It was aimed at equipping judicial officers with knowledge of national, international and regional Human Rights Instruments and with skills needed to resolve cases arising in their national courts which involve discrimination and violence against omen in accordance with principles enshrined in those instruments. [ 9 ]. The Acts were translated into Langi, Akarimajong, Ateso, Runyankole/Rukiga, Aringa and Luganda [ 10 ]. The only male NAWJU member His Worship NDA Batema authoured a play titled “the silent culture” the play expounds on issues of Sexual harrasment. His Worship Batema is a Registrar at the High Court, family division and is an expert on gender issues.
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