In recent years, an increasing number of Ugandan women have chosen to leave their high-paying corporate positions and stay at home. They’ve traded in their heels and business suits, paused their careers, and focused on raising their families.
While it initially seemed like they were escaping work-related stress, they are now advocating for compensation, asserting that it establishes robust, resilient, and gender-responsive support systems while respecting human rights.
During the event commemorating the International Day of Care and Support at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kampala, the issue of receiving salaries was brought up. This day, recognized by the United Nations, acknowledges the unequal burden of unpaid care and household work on women and girls, emphasizing the importance of addressing these systemic barriers to women’s empowerment.
To achieve this goal, they appealed to President Yoweri Museveni to approve the Employment Amendment Bill passed by Parliament in July, which includes provisions for a minimum wage.
Shiloh Kabarungi, representing the gender ministry, confirmed that the day would be celebrated annually. Many participants at the event justified the need for compensation. Solome Nakalema, a former market vendor turned homemaker, criticized men for neglecting their roles as stay-at-home parents.
“Most men are used to a standard daily home stipend, which is meant to cover household expenses. However, this amount, often around 10,000 Ugandan Shillings or slightly more, is hardly sufficient for necessities and a salary,” she revealed.
She pointed out that household chores are more demanding than office work and suggested that men who receive a monthly salary should deduct a percentage and pay women what is fair.
Florence Aciro, married to a security guard, shared her experience of being an unconventional homemaker before she started street vending to supplement her family’s income. She expressed regret for the hardships she endured and the impact on her husband’s spending habits.
Jane Ocaya-IRama, a women’s rights advisor at Oxfam Uganda, emphasized that the issue shouldn’t simply revolve around paying housewives but should be seen from the perspective of those with caregiving responsibilities at home. She suggested that when a woman decides to stay at home and care for the family, there should be an agreement between her and her husband regarding resources for her personal expenses.
Regina Bafaki, the executive director at Action for Development (ACFODE), stressed that if caregiving becomes a shared responsibility among various stakeholders, it will ease the burden on women and contribute to economic growth. She noted that women make substantial contributions to the economy, but these contributions often go unrecognized in its growth.