Gender-Nigeria/Uganda-HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS impact ignores role of women - Ugandan

study Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Makerere Universi t y, Uganda, Sylvia Tamale, has disclosed that almost all research on the impact o f HIV/AIDS totally ignores the role of women.
In her presentation on "Gender, Work and HIV/AIDS in Uganda," Tamale said duri ng a workshop held here Wednesday "on a personal level, the emotional impact of H IV/AIDS and the extra work-load assumed by women as a result is largely ignored.
"In terms of economic impact, most studies ignore the fact that support from t he so-called care economy impacts directly on formal economy.
"In Uganda, a woman’s work is largely invisible, unrecognized and under-valued; yet she is responsible for the care of the household, work in the field, selling goods on the road-side and co-coordinating community activities and often assume s double or triple shifts, by working in the formal work force as well.
" According to the law professor, what studies tend to ignore is that a large prop ortion of the diverse activities performed by women does not fall into the tradi t ional economy and does not make up part of Gross Domestic Product.
It is important to note that this largely female, largely invisible economy gr eatly subsidises and underpins the effectiveness of the visible economy, said Ta m ale.
"At the heart of the struggle of HIV is the concept of care – physical care for the sick, care of the bereaved, psychological care and support of affected famil y members – and studies, which ignore the impact of HIV/AIDS care needs on the pr o ductivity and effectiveness of the work women do.
"Women are primarily responsible for the care of the sick, but the impact of t he extra emotional, physical and time demands on her resources is not accounted f or.
Studies also ignore the impact of personal HIV infection on the productivity of women doing unpaid work that sustain homesteads and families, the legal luminary pointed out.
Infection often has dire consequences for a woman’s productive labour and ultima tely, all these issues affect the economy at local, national and regional levels , explained Tamale.
"As HIV/AIDS related deaths chip away at the strong family network that guarante es familial support for siblings and the elderly, there is a rise in women and c h ild-headed households, imposing a socio-economic toll on affected families.
"Not only does this compromise a family’s standard of living, but also forces grandmother’s back into a full time parenting and household support role," Tamal e further explained.
The university don said since women were at the forefront of responding to the H IV/AIDS crisis, women in HIV-afflicted families are often overburdened.
However, Tamale noted there were unexpected benefits from the pandemic, which include a new political consciousness of women, an increase in self-esteem in wo m en who are able to successfully offer help, the opening up of the silence on the taboo of talking about sex and a change in the traditional roles of men and wome n .

07 february 2008 17:56:00

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