I met Annet Twebaze when I moved to Edmonton, Alberta almost 9 years ago to complete my bachelors degree. We were in the same program of study and we soon became fast friends. Annet is from Uganda, an East African country, known for its beautiful scenery, and wildlife.
1) Tell me about yourself.( education, achievements, where you currently live, what you are currently doing in terms of occupation, volunteering etc. )
I reside in Kampala, Uganda. Early this year, I returned to live permanently in Uganda. However, for the past 10 years I have lived in Canada as my second home. I achieved all my education and work experience in Canada. I have a Masters in Business Administration and a Master of Science in International Business, Bachelors of Commence and a diploma in Human Resources.
Currently, I am working for a company in Uganda as a human resource manager. My career goal is to help shape the importance of human labor in developing countries.There is a problem of employment exploitation and child labor in Uganda. And employees are not fairly paid.
I am passionate about advocating for change and creating awareness in Ugandan schools that earning a degree is not the only way forward but trades can also offer good occupations for students. I would like to encourage the young generation of Uganda to become innovative rather than be job seekers.
I think students need to focus on becoming innovators because most of them, when they leave school, fail to find jobs and end up on streets. Yet, they have invested lots of money in school. Our education only teaches us to be job seekers not innovators. Therefore, I think we need to change our mood of thought about earning degrees, since there are others trades like plumbing which are not encouraged in my country.
2. What was life like growing up as a girl in Uganda? (family expectations, chores you had to perform at home, expectations at school)
Life growing up in Uganda as a girl child was challenging. Since I am from a family of 12 children and the first child of my family, I had to set an example for the rest of my siblings. Therefore, I did not find it easy. We all had personal chores and it was a routine every day. We performed our chores during holidays since we were all in boarding schools. Our parents expected us to perform well but it was not emphasized.
3. What is a woman’s role in Ugandan society in terms of the following listed below?
Social life– Basically a woman’s role has changed over time and there are more working class women than stay home mothers.
Family– A woman’s role in a family has also changed, however a woman’s primary role is to shape the children into future citizens and make sure the home is in harmony.
Politics– Politics has opened room for women today in Uganda. Women are involved and participate in political decisions.
3. How do you see a woman’s role in Uganda compared to your experience in Canada?
The role in both countries are similar; although the women in Uganda are family oriented while women in Canada are work oriented in most cases.
4. How do you see a woman’s role in Uganda evolving? Are there any challenges women still face? Are there challenges that women face in the career field that you have chosen?
The woman’s role in the past has evolved and women are doing both: being a mother and working as well. In the past women could not go to school because there was a belief that women were only meant for marriage. Currently, in Uganda a woman has been given the opportunity to work in areas that are sensitive like politics, church leaders etc.
Women in Uganda still face challenges of domestic abuse from men due to cultural reasons. These cultural reasons include the belief that women are subordinate to their husbands. These men in turn inflict psychological and emotional abuse on their wives. There is a belief that a woman has no right to say NO to a man. A man can do anything, like marrying two wives and a woman can not object.
Further, there are careers that the society believes cannot be performed by women such as an electrician, plumber and others. Women have limited professions to explore. In my career field women face the challenge of work performance since most men cannot take commands from women. Therefore it makes the job very challenging.
5. Most cultures have beauty ideals. For example, in North America the ideal beauty is a woman who is tall, thin, blonde with big breasts and long hair. What is the ideal beauty in Uganda? Do you think this is good or bad? Do you think Ugandan women face less or more pressure than black women in Canada in terms of emphasis on physical appearance? Is that good or bad?
The Ideal woman in Uganda is one who has good eyes, big breasts, big lips, not too thin but a good curvy body. In Uganda women face a lot of pressure like those in Canada; women focus on their physical appearance rather than personality.
6. Most people associate Uganda with Idi Amin, a dictator during the 1970s, what would you like the world to know about Uganda?
Uganda is a beautiful country for tourists to visit; we have lots of wildlife in addition Uganda has great seasons these are wet and dry. Nature is apart of Uganda and people should know that Uganda is called the Pearl of Africa.
7.What should the world know about Ugandan Women?
Ugandan women are as beautiful as other women in the world. They have great personalities and are family oriented people.