Makerere University female staff have been urged to actively participate in the leadership activities of the institution. This was at the Gender and Leadership training; held on 7th May 2019, in the Upper Senate Conference Hall, Makerere University. According to the Dr. Rhodah Wanyeze, the Dean School of Public Health- Makerere University, there is need for both female Administrative and Academic staff to access and actively participate in the decision-making processes if they are to realize gender equity at Makerere University.
We cannot blame the University leadership for making decisions that are not gender responsive when we have failed to take up the mantle and be part of the leadership team and processes. It is high time we left our comfortable zones and became active leaders. We don’t need to wait until we hold positons to exercise our leadership roles. We are potential and true leaders already, she said.
In a presentation she made on Women and leadership of Makerere university: challenges and opportunities, Prof. Wanyenze called for the development of a collaborative framework that will enable female Administrative and Academic staff understand their leadership rights, build their leadership potential and support their leadership journey.
We need to join efforts in this struggle, have one voice and prepare ourselves for the big role. We must learn to overcome the challenges, understand how to balance both the family roles and professional roles. Above all, we need to be ready, acquire the necessary skills, have support and this can be achieved through a collaborative measure, she said.
The leadership training on Gender and Leadership was organized by Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate. Sponsored by School of Women and Gender Studies under the SIDA 2391 Gender Mainstreaming Project, the training aimed at generating a critical mass of female Administrative and Academic staff as potential leaders in Makerere University by enhancing their academic, administrative and leadership skills.
According to the Director of Gender and Mainstreaming Dr. Euzobia Mugisha M. Baine, despite the fact that Makerere University has a well-established School of Women and Gender Studies and the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, the institution is still finding it hard to bridge the ever widening gender gap in leadership. Dr. Baine noted that there is poor representation of female Administrative and Academic staff in the institution’s top leadership and this has equally affected their interests when it comes to decision-making.
The Deputy Director of Gender and Mainstreaming Ms. Frances Nyachwo, presented the current gendered leadership statistics at Makerere University. Currently the proportion of female teaching Staff University-wide is 29%, and men 71%. Out of the 16 Central Management position women occupy only 3 positions, in the Top Management positions women occupy 3 positions out of 26, and for the position of School Deans, 3 out of 29 are women she said.
In 2004, Makerere University Commissioned a study on the Situation Analysis on the Gender Terrain at Makerere University. This study established that female Administrative and Academic staff were underrepresented in top leadership and decision making of the academic and administrative levels. The main reason was that female Administrative and Academic staff lacked requisite academic qualifications to compete for these positions. In addition, the study also confirmed that challenges of balancing family and work responsibilities, within a patriarchal institution hindered women’s career progression.
The training on gender and leadership was attended by Makerere University senior female staff. The one-day non-residential training equipped participants with various skills and techniques on leadership development Makerere University.
Discussing the need to change the leadership terrain of Makerere University, Associate Professor Consolota Kabonesa, the Principal Investigator of SIDA 2391 Gender Mainstreaming Project at School of Women and Gender Studies highlighted the need to change the gender profile in leadership especially in top leadership positions to reflect equity.
We should transform our lives and society if we are to create a gender-fair Makerere. We have to be activity oriented and differentiate leadership from authority and have a sense of developing others said Dr. Kabonesa.
During the interactive session that was chaired by Mr. Eric Tumwesigye a Senior Gender Officer and Ms. Suzan Mbabazi a Principal Gender Officer, participants developed the action points. Among the points included;
Strengthen the Affirmative Action Programmes
Recognise women as an essential resource-base at the University
Create a gender advocacy group to lobby for the increase of more women in leadership at the University
Establish a colloquium to discuss gender and leadership topics
Create a Makerere University women empowerment platform.
Source: Makerere University