2. People Tree- Jaquard Dress http://www.peopletree.
Uganda is what most people would call a patriarchal society. Men are generally dominant, and women are seen as subordinate, their roles are almost solely to be wives and mothers. The government of Uganda recognizes the problems with gender inequality; in recent years they have passed laws that attempt to give women rights and make their voices heard. They have created many different laws, some of which enable women to be property owners, to fill government positions, and to receive the same rights as men. However, even as their constitution declares these rights, it upholds the traditional stereotypical view of women when it says that: “The State shall protect women and their rights, taking into account their unique status and natural maternal functions in society.” Now, this isn’t to say that being a wife or a mother isn’t a wonderful thing; one of the most admirable things about the women that 1000 Shillings supports is that they are all such spectacular mothers who are devoted to creating a better life for their kids. The problem is that this is seen as their only worth and purpose in most cases.
These attitudes towards women hinder their advancement and make life much more difficult, especially if they are a single parents. Because of privileges given to men, and the culturally defined gender roles, it is very common for a woman to be abandoned, sometimes multiple times. The problem with the laws that protect women’s rights, is that they often come second to culture. The law that allows women to inherit their husband’s property is already problematic because it doesn’t give women the right to inherit as much property as men, but it is made more so because it is overlooked all too often. Tradition says that women shouldn’t hold property, and officials find ways to keep it from happening. The case is the same with home ownership, where women must meet a whole host of intricate conditions in order to be allowed to own their home.
The double standards continue into the realm of education: while 77% of males are literate, only 58% of females can read. Not only do women receive less education, but it is harder for them to finish their education. Girls often report that in school they are manipulated and pressured into relationships, but if they become pregnant they will usually be expelled, whereas their partner receives no punishment. Because of these circumstances, most Ugandan women’s only option is to find ways to provide for themselves and make the best of their situations. 1000 Shillings gives them the perfect way to do that by teaching them a trade and giving them business so that they can build a better life even when so many of the odds are against them.