I have for the last one month listened to the Warid advert on radios announcing giving a bonus wife to a husband designed for the holiday season and I have been meaning to write about this sexist advert. The company has also billboards up
It was male journalist colleague who first brought my attention to this advert which he found way out of line and later I heard while on a bus ride from Bushenyi my home to Kampala from the Christmas break. But a friend and journalist at The Observer did a comprehensive job about sexist advertisement in Uganda which covers this Warid ad that I wouldn’t add much to this her work.
So I write with strong belief in the words of Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995), a Nigerian activist and writer that “a writer cannot be a mere storyteller; he cannot be a mere teacher; he cannot merely x-ray society’s weaknesses, its ills, its perils. He or she must be actively involved shaping its present and its future.
I am writing this protest note and have put up a facebook group where this can continue. I am informed Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) has sent out a petition against the ad but am yet to see it.
To Warid telecom Uganda
Stop Sexist Advertisement
We, the women of Uganda and other concerned citizens are writing to you to protest your Double Delight advertisement. Your advert suggests that women are possessions, just there to be given away to men without any consent. This advert reinforces certain cultural attitudes that women of Uganda have been fighting for many decades.
As a respectable company which has won several awards including the 2010 Innovation of the Year Award from the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), we expect that your innovation can continue without resorting to negative portrayal of women and robbing us of our dignity.
Women of Uganda have come a long way dating to pre-independence struggles. Many Ugandan women continue to be tied down by many cultural limitations and millions face violence because of inequality. As you may know married couples in Uganda have the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS and many women have been victims because of unequal power relations. Your advert of a bonus wife as a reward to a man without considerations of feelings of many women can only support continued silencing of women.
The advert is a violation of the basic tenet of equality as laid down in the Constitution of Uganda 1995 and international human rights instruments of which Uganda is party to.
We expect that Warid would be mindful not to fuel stereotypes in the society that have damaging effects on women. We expect this to be ingrained in your social responsibility policies and that you respect the dignity of women of this country.
We therefore demand that you take the mentioned adverts off the airwaves and the billboards be brought down. Women constitute more than half of this country and therefore form an important customer base for any service. Your company must come out and apologize for offending women for more than a month since you launched the adverts.