In a blazing argument about equal gender rights on The Fatboy Show today, RX Radio presenters James Onen aka Fatboy, and Olive Najjuma, expressed controverted views about equality regarding the rights of men and women.
The subject arose from a research study funded by the Kingdom of Netherlands and the Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), which concluded that 17 percent of Ugandan women believed that Gender Equality is impractical and that men are more knowledgeable than women.
The research study was conducted in eight districts within Busoga, Karamoja, Bunyoro, and Acholi Subregion under the Theme; 'Access To Equality, Empowering Women To Access Justice In Uganda.'
Women were asked whether they were treated equally in society and if they enjoyed their rights, including social and economic rights and the ease of receiving help when their rights are violated.
According to Olive, the research is likely to have been done in rural areas where women are in male-dominated communities, and lack awareness of their rights, thus concluding that they aren't equal to men.
But Fatboy thought it was something to celebrate since 80 percent of women believed they had equal rights as men, but Olive disagreed.
She admitted, “yes, women have a right to Education, more girls are graduating than boys, but when you go to most corporations, how many senior positions are occupied by women? Most of the senior positions are occupied by men, and you know the roadblocks for women when it comes to climbing there.”
But Fatboy argued that besides sexual exploitation and gender discrimination, many factors prevent women from occupying senior positions like CEO.
“For example, the work and time it takes to become CEO are quite grueling, the time you have to spend on your career, and yet many women at some point want to raise children which impacts their progress to senior positions. Now you can argue that it's unfair for women to take care of the kids and do childcare, but that's not an issue of lack of rights, that's an issue of choices and consequences,” he argued.
“There’s an issue of rights because when most employees know that you're pregnant, they may not even hire you. If a woman shows up 7 months pregnant for an interview, most times she won't be hired regardless of her skills,” Olive explained.
Fatboy then asked if as an employer, she would give a position to a 7 months old pregnant lady knowing that she has to start in a few weeks.
And she replied, “if they are qualified for the job why not? I know you will argue that the employer will lose money when she goes for maternal leave, but when a woman is pregnant, it doesn't mean she’s will be pregnant forever, and so will her maternity leave.”
Fatboy responded that pregnancy could compromise her competence. But to Olive, this proved the argument that women don't have equal rights as men. To her, the rights are only theoretical but in reality impractical.