Should the boy child learn the hard way?

By Eriah Lule

For over the past 3–4 decades, women’s movements have championed the empowerment of the girl child in the country. This has over time registered overwhelming results; many head various sectors, institutions, families and even occupy most of the crucial political offices in the country, including the vice president, H.E. Jessica Alupo, the Prime Minister, Hon. Nabbanja Robbinah, and the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Amongi, among others.

Where have such movements left the boy child?

The movements didn’t only empower and emancipate women but at a point, they left the boy child with little or no attention from either parents or society. 

A courtesy visit to Uganda prisons, Butabika mental hospital, Kampilingisa Rehabilitation Center and even street children reveals that males out number females, even widows outnumber widowers.

1.5 extra points in “A level”, which is equivalent to 5 distinctions in “O level” when it comes to university admissions is provided for the girls. 

Sheikh Musa Gwamba, the Imam of Mukono central mosque, notes that even in the Islamic faith, a man is portrayed as bold but not fearless. He is ever strong and can withhold any kind of challenge that would manifest in his life. Pampering a boy won’t do any good but harm .

“Haven’t we seen parents who have pampered boys and what has been their yield?” As a result, they become burdens not only to their families, but also to society,” said Gwamba

The African perspective has over time perceived that a man is made by the challenges or situations he encounters in life, but is it emancipation where advocacy for equality is crucial?

A secondary school teacher who concealed the name says that the boys’ gruesome nature places them at this point where we think they can learn by themselves, yet they can’t. Even in class, the extra points given to girls is unfair, but for boys, they have to learn the hard way to stand on their feet for their future and families.

The Church of Uganda started the boy child movement headed by the Archbishop, His Grace Stephen Kazimba Mugalu. In one of his interviews in the media, he stressed the increasing number of mental health issues among the males, which was worrying, but all this didn’t start in the night. They started at home.

“When we offer less attention to our boys, they also feel left out, although by nature they may not show it to you,” he added. “Our goal is to champion awareness and remind parents that all children are equal and need equal attention.”

Susan Nakimbugwe, a mother of five boys and a poultry farm manager, is a resident of Matugga in the Wakiso District. She believes that all children need equal attention. However much girls look fragile and gullible to whatever situations, the same happens to boys.

“No wonder boys run away from home to the streets while girls run away to men for different reasons. “A significant reason why i opted to adopt a girl is for my boys to learn how to live equally with women,” said Nakimbugwe

Winnie Kabasa, a mother of four, owns a restaurant in Uganda Christian University (UCU) and notes that boys need to be loved and respected. She stressed that parents have replaced care with provisions for the boys, which is wrong.

“No wonder they forget their families when they marry because they are with someone who listens to them,” she said.

Shaban Sembuya, a father of 14 and a resident of Mukono, believes that for men we were created with a thicker skin than women. From birth to death, a man is bold and strong. The parents start by showing this child that when they are away, the boy (s) have to take care of their siblings and mother.

“We love our children, but for boys we need extra effort to groom them into next fathers to take over the family when I am not around.” He said, “For my girls, I hold them dearly and fragile. Any slight mistake they are gone because they are easily gullible,” Sembuya.

Reverend Canon Dr. John Ssenyonyi, a parenting coach and expert, says that boys are by nature ‘Brut and Strong’, while growing up any parent should pay extra attention, as he articulates in the video.

Kirumira Jaffari, a 26-year old Mukono resident, believes that this is a sudden upheaval that has established its taps against the boys. Even at home, a parent will first provide for a girl to her satisfaction, then the remaining little will go to the boy. This enriches hate amongst them.

” The more parents don’t pay attention to boys, the more they distance themselves from their parents and end up making foolish decisions that even put their lives at stake”, he said” No wonder the bigger ratio of street children , prisoners and mental health issues are boys to girls,” Kirumira.

Joshua Kyamata, a second year student of UCU offering a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Social Administration believes that the confidence that parents assume boys can take care of themselves without no extra attention in schools is wrong, this has made boys do things that have created life time scars in their lives.

” Boys find it difficult to open up no wonder a lot of them a depressed all the time”, he said ” some even die in the struggle since no one can come in to their rescue,” Kyamata.