Peace T. Kyamureku  FEMRITE – Contribution of women writers in the development of Uganda

Ms Kyamureku sought to address the 3 “Ws”; Women, Work and Writing. She looked at how FEMRITE’s hard work of 20 years has impacted the work of other women. To what extent is the FEMRITE writing a reflection of women’s work? How much has it informed society about women’s work? She said that FEMRITE has put women writers in the limelight. However, she insisted that there still few women writers although they are now more than their male counterparts. They are few because of illiteracy, fear to write because they think they are not up to it; and the rigidity of editors and publishers. The FEMRITE@20 conference has shown the uniqueness of FEMRITE. But who reads/should read our work? What sales? Do women write only about women’s issues? Do women pay enough attention to the chores they do to actually write about them?

On work, she noted that women don’t pay enough attention to daily routine chores to know that if they wrote about them someone would love to learn from them. Women imagine that everyone knows what they do and would not want to read it or pay for it. No value is put on what women do and the free labour they give is always taken for granted. She admitted that she felt ashamed when she ignored women’s work and wrote about the economy of Nkore in the pre-colonial era for her Master of Arts thesis.

In the new trends, Ms Kyamureku cites a FOWODE publication in which there is an article on women learning to make chapatti for home and for sale. But she asks the question “who earns from the sale of chapatti today? She says that self-help books are selling because everyone wants to succeed in life. But what is the future of women’s writing amidst all the development in technology? While technology is good, she was afraid that women are not benefitting from it.

She concluded with a wish for communities to lead, define challenges and opportunities for writing and constitute the market place during the FEMRITE 21st year journey. She hoped FEMRITE writing will continue to give a voice to communities, women will write more about their work and highlight women’s challenges and draw more attention to gender imbalances.