Students from various Universities across Uganda have expressed concern over the unending gender inequalities that exist in the higher institutions of learning.
This was revealed on Thursday during the ongoing Gender Identity Week organized by Makerere University’s School of Women and Gender Studies in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden.
Lilian Nakitende, a student of Kyambogo University said that female students in universities still face a challenge of objectification and gender misrepresentation.
“Unlike the males, we females still face challenges like offensive language, rape in and around hostels. Lecturers are luring girls into sex for marks acts. We feel that some universities have not done enough to protect us,” said Nakitende while disclosing her experience of the university environment.
Esther Muhooza, a student at Makerere University stated that some the culture of stereotyping has done more harm than good in promoting gender inequalities at the institutions.
“Many girls have been denied leadership positions, they have been sexually harassed but they fear opening up because of stereotypes. They think that if they speak up people will perceive them as sex objects yet in actual sense such acts are eating us up.
“Gender inequality is common in girls because most of us have grown up without a voice whereby someone will always step on you and goes away scot-free,” Muhooza said.
Marion Kirabo, a Guild Minister for Gender, Makerere University said, “I must say that I grew up an angry child because of my gender. As a young girl, I was denied to do many things which boys do and vice versa. At universities, you still see girls refusing to take part in some activities in order to look attractive so that they become acceptable in society and this is all because of gender inequality.
Conerious Bazaale, a student from Busitema University noted that at his institution they have cultural associations that still hold a strong conservative belief that women cannot be their chairpersons thus keeping them [females] out of leadership.
“For the three years I have studied at Busitema, no single lady has ever been the chair for any cultural association,” Bazaale asserted.
He also decried the unfair distribution of scholarship slots among females and males at university level.
“I personally, I am a MasterCard scholarship beneficiary. During the time I applied there were 70 per cent slots for girls and 30 per cent for males but most girls did not apply so the slots were left free yet the boys applied overwhelmingly and exceeded the allocated slots. But guess what? Instead of giving the empty slots to the needy boys, the organization looked for and gave them to girls who already had the capability to pay their tuition fees.”
However, to Emmanuel Amos Etyak from Gulu University, his institution has tried its best to ensure that gender equality is achieved.
“The girl child at Gulu University has not been left out. If you look at the students’ Guild, the females have been well represented. The same applies in the sports arena as well as in academics. For example in my class, the top three students with the highest GPA are ladies and this applies to other courses.”
Meanwhile, the week-long event at Makerere University is running under the theme ‘Generation Equality’.
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