Why am I going to make decisions for men?

Hello, my name is Brenda. I am a female social worker and counsellor in Uganda.

I want to challenge gender inequality. The reason is that most times there is no say in things that happen to women, low decision making, some are refused to go and work even when the source of income is low at home, they also face stigma and are under looked. The girl children most of the times are being despised and unwated in the family, or seen as the source of home labour only, and these are some of the reasons that force them to come to the streets. I want to educate the children and the community that we all have the capacity to work and live equally.

If you able able to show support for our inequality challenges please click here. Any sponsorship will be gratefully received and help S.A.L.V.E. to take action against inequality in Uganda.

Choosing my challenge:

I wanted to explore what being a man meant to children living on the streets. This was to better help me to understand the way the children view gender difference and simularities.

Physically they told me that being a man meant having a beard, a wide chest and a deep voice. They felt it gave them energy that made them good at games like football, become hard workers and have physical strength to lift and carry heavy objects.

Psychologically they believe being a man is to be the decision maker. They have to be the ruler of the women in their lives. They have to be the problem solver i.e. if there is no food at home they are the one to find a solution and bring home the food. They also believed they had to be the protector of women.

When I thought about this I saw there was a lot of pressure and responsibility the boys were putting on themselves. If they could plan to share the burden with the women in their lives they might have less stresses. For my challenge I decided to focus on the idea of decision making and believing you have to be the boss or the ruler. For a week I am going to make the decisions for others around me as if I had to and saw this as my responsibility.

Starting my challenge

I have started from class by deciding all boy children to play a specific game which is cards at once, whether they wanted or not. The reaction was negative. I received several complaints as some of them were not interested in playing cards, others were telling me I can’t force them to play game they don’t want, others were like cards are not good for many people, then some didn’t know how to play cards.

It wasn’t easy to control the class at first because of the many arguments and shouting from the children that they will not play, but when they realised how serious I was with my decision they complied and all engaged in the game.
This was nice because it helped in team building as the experts in cards started teaching those who didn’t know how to play cards. Then it gave them chance to become creative that is to say they taught themselves different games using cards.

But though it ended with a nice game overall, the reaction I got was not friendly to me trying to control the boys. They didn’t like having me tell them what to do.

Getting men to sweep:

Today the decision was to make men to sweep. This was hard for them to accept to do. They were giving excuses as they are too busy, one side he has a backache, then the common excuse this is not their responsibility. When they realised I was serious they started sweeping then afterwards they said “Oooooohhhhh this is also finished.

The decision was made after having a discussion with the children in class about the responsibilities of men and women. The strongest argument was on who is supposed to do house chores. The children most of them were like its the women, as the men are only supposed to provide money and resources at home.

So I based on this to make a decision for men to sweep to see whether it contradicts with the children’s argument. It’s true men think house chores are only meant for the women because they felt it was a burden for them to sweep. They were asking for the reason why they should sweep yet am around since its women’s role to do that.

Though today they became suspicious but told them was trying to show the children everyone can do the house chore regardless of the gender. Some children became happy seeing their uncles also sweeping, as other children felt embrassed and wanted to remove the brooms from the uncles.

Deciding for strangers:

This has been the hardest so far, trying to make the decisions for complete strangers who are men.

I have decided the two male neighbours in the taxi bus next to me could buy me roasted chicken at namawojolo one of the famous stage for selling chicken. The reason for this during the discussion with the children they said men are supposed to provide for women. One just looked at me and didn’t say anything then the other told me he doesn’t have money yet he had bought himself what to eat. I insisted to give me want he had bought. The end results is that I am called a mad person which is so embarassing to me.

Lesson learnt men can’t provide for someone they don’t know or listen to their instructions. As one of the guy in the taxi asked a question that he should buy for me chicken as who to him? Judgments are also made according to appearance. As for me I can buy myself what to eat and am now also wondering if I would buy a stranger (of either gender) who asked me food… Why not ask and find out?

Being refused:

Today I decided to target my family members. They are not used to me being decisive with them. I wondered if our close relationship as family would allow them to listen to my demands. So I instructed my cousin to shower in cold water.

This one has failed to comply with the demand because he fears cold water. He also didn’t respond well to the idea of me telling him what to do. That is not my job to do that.

My feeling today has been negative that when I told my cousin to wash cold water and he down my demand. Perhaps it was due to what I asked him to do, but also might be that he didn’t want to listen to me.


To me women are still under looked as men find it hard for women to make decisions for them. To those I was challenging to do things, they used to first ask me questions as to why I am telling them the decisions.

In an ideal world men and women will make decisions together, rather than one side dictating to the other. But for me it has been an interesting challenge week to see the reaction to me acting more decisive like men normally do.

If you able able to show support for our inequality challenges please click here. Any sponsorship will be gratefully received and help S.A.L.V.E. to take action against inequality in Uganda.

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