President Museveni has said Gender equality can only be achieved if societies transform and develop.
The President made the remarks in Nairobi, Kenya where he joined other leaders at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD 25).
The three-day conference is being marked 25 years after the inaugural summit in Cairo, Egypt that made a case for gender equality and supporting advancement of women and girls.
Addressing the thousands of attentive delegates at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, President Museveni pointed out that gender inequality was as old as man.
“Human beings have been here for four-and-a half million years. Most of that time, gender inequality has been there,” he said. “Therefore, I want to point out that you cannot achieve this equality if the society does not change itself.”
He added: “You cannot keep a pre-capitalist society in existence and you think you will achieve easily gender equality and other goals.
I urge the organisers of this conference to add to their literature the words social economic transformation of the whole society.”
Citing the case of Europe, President Museveni said they had made strides in gender equality because they had managed to change the income fortunes of their people.
“You cannot keep a traditional society and then make it achieve middle-class goals. Even Europe was like this. It was just in the last few centuries when middle class values were achieved. In the UK until 1911, the women were not voting,” said the President.
He observed that creation of jobs is important in this fight because jobless, poor people are vulnerable and susceptible to exploitation. The President added that with joblessness, even good legislation on equality would run into implementation challenges.
Counselling the young people and those making a case for gender equality, the President advised that they must consult the elders and parents, whom he labelled “consultants”.
“I heard the slogan ‘girls must own their bodies’. Speaking as a veteran husband, father, grandfather and freedom fighter, I advise that even when you own something, you must engage consultants. The young people must seek advice,” he said.