Gender differentiated perceptions held for triggers of child neglect in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda
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Although considerable research exists on Child Neglect (CN), gender-differentiated perceptions that fuel CN are not yet known. In the patriarchal family settings, the perception often held of mothers is that of childcare and fathers as providers. Drawing on interviews with 35 parents reported for CN in post-conflict northern Uganda, this paper explores the gendered triggers of CN and interventions directed at children under CN. The paper uses radical feminism and nested ecological theories to examine gendered perceptions often held about motherhood and fatherhood in relation to childcare and explains the risk factors for CN for caretakers from northern Uganda. Narrative responses were audio-recorded and transcribed. Qualitative content analysis was used to scrutinize parents’ perceptions on CN. Parents highlighted triggers for CN as; spousal separation and custody of children, polygamy, disorientation of cultural and social norms and the burden of single parenting. Case reporting and community dialogues were identified as interventions. The paper argues for mainstreaming gender into family and child protection strategies for improved childcare while targeting both fathers and mothers to enhance safety of children. This paper contributes to the debate on CN by bringing out gender perspectives on parents’ intentional CN in northern Uganda.