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Women Birding to Bridge Gender Gap in Nature Guiding Industry

Judith Mirembe, the chairperson of Uganda Women Birders, says that they want to break the norms and barriers imposed on women in the industry. This is not an easy task in a society where gender discrimination still manifests in such ancient taboos like women not driving cars or wearing trousers.
10 Dec 2021 17:33
Women birders at the birding expo.

Audio 5



Although tourism is one the fastest  growing revenue earning sectors in all countries in the world, it has also left women behind, and this is something some ladies came up to tackle.

Judith Mirembe, the chairperson of Uganda Women Birders, says that they want to break the norms and barriers imposed on women in the industry. This is not an easy task in a society where gender discrimination still manifests in such ancient taboos like women not driving cars or wearing trousers.

“We still have such social perceptions that even bird watching and guiding tourists are seen as roles in which women can’t fit,” Mirembe states.

She told URN that they started the Women Birders Club to break these norms and stereotypes to show the world that women can, and can do it better.

//Cue in: “So traditionally women…..//  

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Recalling their humble beginnings, she said that they started with 10 women who were already established in the industry and have inspired many other women into joining the birding club in the tourism sector. 

Women seeing women doing it has enabled the club to grow to 60 members believe by seeing other fellow women doing it which has brought the number to over 60 women and some even driving tourist vehicles now.

She however cited out limitations of the equipment used in birding like binoculars and cameras which are so expensive and some not readily available in Uganda yet most of their members are fresh graduates from Universities who are looking for jobs. 

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Dorcas Lukundo Twesigomwe, the business development manager of Uganda Wildlife Authority -UWA said that there is a need to promote birding because it has a big potential to turn around the growth of Uganda, with the country having over 1,085 bird species of which some of them are endemic and others so unique to the country and need to be marketed.

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“For us as government what we can do is to conserve the wetlands the habitants of the birds and also conserve the birds and we are pledging that we are going to do that with or without resources and also to document the rare species of birds and the migratory ones so that we can sell information that is authentic,”  Lukundo explains.

She appealed to Uganda tourism board -UTB to promote birding in Uganda like they have promoted the gorillas in the country.

She also said that UWA is to give licenses to people who want to do breeding of birds mostly those which are the endangered species and also birds that are involved in trade like the parrots.

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Edmond Alyampika the administrator of the  4th African birding expo held at Uganda Museum under the theme Intra- African birding, a path to tourism resilience and economic recovery said that said that they want to show the world that Uganda is the leading birding destination.

He also said that the key bird Uganda is selling is the shoebill in Mabamba forest and the foxes river which are endemic and only found in Eastern Uganda and nowhere in the world.

//Cue in: “The bird that we have…//

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