Challenges to women’s participation in local council elections in Uganda: a case study of 1997 and 2006 elections in Mityana District
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This study set out to analyse challenges facing women’s participation in local council elections in Uganda with specific reference to the 1997 and 2006 elections in Mityana district. The study was guided by three objectives, namely: to investigate women’s attitudes toward their participation in local council elections, to analyse the challenges that hindered women participation in local council elections; to establish the opportunities for enhancing women’s effective participation in local council elections both as candidates and as voters. The study was carried out in four sub-counties and it adopted a case study design which study targeted a population of 100 respondents. Data from primary sources were gathered by use of questionnaires, focus group discussions and interviews where both qualitative and quantitative instruments were employed to analyse field data. The study found out that women’s attitudes toward their participation in local council elections was low due to lack of interest in electoral activities especially as candidates. Women also faced social-cultural, political, economic and election management challenges that hindered their participation both as candidates and voters. The study also found out that there were opportunities from different stakeholders that were available for women that enhanced their participation both as candidates and voters. The study therefore concluded that there was need for both men and women to be sensitised about the importance of joining local council elections, and for adult literacy programs that targeted mainly the women to lessen the illiteracy levels. There was also need for empowerment (socially, economically) so that women have enough resources to join local council elections and for women to be united as a group to fight for their rights. It was therefore recommended that government should increase the one third provisions to enable more women join local council elections. There was also need for continuous sensitisation programmes to be put in place even after general elections; for the Electoral Commission to operate independently without any political of foreign influence and desist from practicing partisan politics; for the Electoral Commission to keep the electorate informed of upcoming electoral events, and for women to be empowered economically and to be united to fight for their rights.