As part of the celebration to mark International Women’s Day on March 8, 2020, women across Africa convened in Kampala to discuss the participation of women in infrastructural projects aimed at empowered African women to take a lead role in the capital projects.
During the high-level women conference themed “Africa bridging the infrastructure gap. The role of women” celebrating women in infrastructure held at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala on Monday 2nd March 2020, the keynote speaker, Ambassador MacDella Cooper, a Philanthropic and former presidential candidate in Liberia, said that with 51% of women in Africa, women should be at the forefront of developing their countries.
She urged all infrastructural projects to include women in decision making positions, saying that women have potential to change the destiny of a country.
“We need to invest in women so that they can also invest in families and society. Every infrastructure should put women on decision making table,” Cooper said.
Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament Rebecca Kadaga called for new policies to create space for women participation in infrastructural contracts.
She said that since poor infrastructure affects women the more, all construction of public markets, roads should include facilities that are women friendly.
The speaker said that women need to be included in the design, planning and execution of projects.
“We need to design space for women in the structure of contracts, to create space for women participation. I have urged local government to construct markets that cater for the conditions of women while in markets,” she said.
The Honorary Consul for the Republic of Liberia to Uganda, Dr Thelma Owori, said there is need to enlarge space for women leadership especially in the infrastructure sector.
Elizabeth Natukunda , a Consultant with Turner and Town Send LTD, said that according to International Labour organisation, Uganda’s statistics indicate that 8% of women are involved in construction sector, which she says is low.
Citing the example of Hoima International Airport project contracted by SBC LTD, she said that only 14% of women are involved in this multimillion dollar project.
Natukunda added that the challenge for low participation of women in infrastructure ranges from the education system, culture based gender issues and lack of mentorship among others.
By Drake Nyamugabwa