On December 7, The Uganda Police Force unveiled its gender policy as part of the activities for the 16 days of activism. It was organised by the Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola. Our volunteer, Molly Nabwami, attended the ceremony.
The police are a critical body in our country as they investigate traditional practices that harm women and young girls. And for the police to be more effective outside in society, it must be effective inside first. For years, women in the Uganda Police Force have been champions in promoting the rights of other women. However, women in the Uganda Police Force have also faced issues of gender based violence and discrimination at their places of work. This is often in the form of sexual harassment, not being granted promotions, discrimination within different laws, and much more.
It’s against this background that the Uganda Police Force with support from the UN Women developed a customized gender policy and strategy to provide a framework for gender mainstreaming in its systems, policies, structures and practices. The aim of the policy is to improve the conditions of women within the police force.
The questions that are running through my head are; What would this mean? why has it taken them so long? why now? The policy was developed through a consultative process, with the help of the Police Heads of Departments, Police Advisory Committee, and other key stakeholders from the Justice Law and Order Society (JLOS), Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, United nations agencies, Federation of Women Laws in Uganda FIDA.
The Uganda Police, with support from UN Women, developed a customised gender policy to ensure its systems, policies, structures and practices promote gender equality. The policy was developed through a consultative process with the Police Heads of Department, the Police Advisory Committee, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, and other key decision makers from the Justice Law and Order Society, UN agencies, and the Federation of Women Lawyers in Uganda (FIDA). The policy focuses on;
- Inclusion of gender in the curriculum of the police training institutions
- Sexual offences
- Budgeting, access and decision making
- Retention for women in the police force
- Greater equal access to senior positions within the police
- Strengthening the capacity of the police departments.
- Greater access to growth opportunities for women within the police force
I commend the Uganda Police Force for this achievement. Unfortunately, Uganda has good policies but the implementation process of these policies remains in question. Will it be the same case with this too?