Rebecca Mukoya: Holding the line against GBV in Uganda

Rebecca Mukoya is a data analyst with 14 years of experience, currently working as a production officer at a steel company in Uganda. She joined the Uganda Building Construction, Civil Engineering, Cement & Allied Workers' Union Sectors: Cement, Construction, and Allied workers (UBCCECAWU) in 2014 while working as a clerk. In the same year, she was elected as a shop steward. After three years in this position, she was elected as the National Women’s Leader for the union. Rebecca has successfully held this position since 2017.

Throughout her leadership journey, she has initiated and participated in several union activities, including workshops focused on gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH). During these activities, Rebecca sensitised women trade union members, functionaries, and leaders from different workplaces on GBVH, its causes, possible prevention mechanisms, and inclusion in national and workplace policies and agreements.

In Rebecca’s perspective, “Creating awareness around GBV is important as it gives us a chance to save the lives of many women.”

Eradicating GBVH is particularly close to Rebecca’s heart, especially as a survivor herself. Because of various interventions and support from her family, trade union, and other organisations, Sister Mukoya is now a single, thriving, and happy mother of two.

“As women, our voices matter. As women leaders, our voices matter, and if used strategically, can be a tool to secure women’s protection and success in our sectors for generations to come. I believe the right way to achieve this is through democracy where women are free to act and speak out without fear. Democracy provides a good mechanism to fight for women’s rights and have equal opportunities for a better future,” says Rebecca.

Rebecca works in a male-dominated sector with approximately 100 male workers and five female workers in her workplace. While it is often difficult to organise and fight for gender equality in these circumstances, this has encouraged Rebecca to continue improving her knowledge and capacity through BWI-provided training. She has also been a strong advocate for the achievement and preservation of women’s dignity and privacy in the workplace. For example, she has fought for separate toilets and changing facilities, equal pay for equal work, appropriate and employer-provided personal protective equipment, maternity protections, and so on.

It is this education coupled with her hunger to achieve gender equity through women’s leadership that keeps Rebecca going. Through her activism and participation in policy-defining processes, Rebecca has proven to be a staunch advocate for women’s progression and gender equality in the workplace and wider communities in Uganda.