Rwandans take stock of women empowerment progress

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. It commemorates the movement for women’s rights and also marks the plight and achievements of women all over the world. Women empowerment has always been at the forefront of Rwanda’s tireless efforts. Women Today’s Lydia Atieno asked a cross section of people what they think about the women empowerment progress in Rwanda and what can be done to boost equality.

Alexanderia Haidara, Proprietor -Marina Bella Natural Salon

I strongly believe that women should own their destiny and have more self confidence in order to achieve their goals and aspirations. Sometimes we doubt ourselves too much or rely too much on other people’s opinions that we don’t take advantage of the opportunities. This day should be for all women to see themselves as conquerors and do everything they put their minds to.


Frank Rubaduka, CEO - All Trust Consult Ltd

Women empowerment has been well tackled by the government and much has been achieved. I think it’s time to start putting words and encouragement into action. They should now be encouraged to start taking power, for example, shifting from empowerment to power. With power, they should step out of their comfort zone.


Jean Damascene Nkurikiyimfura, Advisor at cooperative in Nyamagabe District

Women are making progress, take a look at the education sector where girls perform better all the way to university. We have women who are PhD and Master’s holders in different fields. However, there is need for women to change their mindset and attitude towards work and projects dominated by men.


Diana Nawatti, Counsellor /head teacher

Yes, women are making steady progress economically and socially. Where there is a woman there is progress, we are women of virtue, forgiveness and understanding which is the upper hand that has enabled us to make big steps when it comes to empowerment. However, we should change our mind set and be confident that as women, we can still contribute as much as men do.


Elnaam Umutoni, Kicukiro resident

Women still need to set the bar high; some are still dependent on men in many ways, despite all efforts made to empower them. We haven’t reached that level, but I believe with time, women empowerment will be achieved not at 100 per cent, but at the level where both sexes will have equal rights in all aspects.


Jesse Rayson Shyaka, Student - ULK

Rural areas are not yet there, unlike in urban areas where a lot has been achieved. Men’s involvement in women empowerment is also not encouraging. This tends to limit women’s strength as accountability should be on both sides.


Sara Uwimana, Mother of three

We are still facing some challenges, which normally come from our homes, for instance, men give all the home-related responsibilities to women. It doesn’t matter how strong you are, if you don’t have a strong support system, most of all from your spouse, your efforts won’t yield any fruits. There is need to educate men on how we should share all the responsibilities back home; the same way they expect us to share financial responsibility.


Teta Nyiridandi, HR -All Trust consultant ltd, Remera

I think men still don’t understand what it means for a woman to be empowered, they think when a woman is empowered; they will ‘take over’ in all aspects. This perception though should be changed because it limits women from going for what they want in fear of how society will perceive them.


Erica Kabanda, High school graduate

Despite the challenges we are facing as women, there is a lot of progress when it comes to women empowerment. In the government for instance, 60 percent are women, this alone is progress that many other countries haven’t achieved. But more sensitisation needs to be done to achieve more.


Fiona Mukashema, Masaka resident

I feel like there are still no tangible results so far, especially for those being empowered. If possible, there should be close follow up to find out how far those being empowered have reached. Without this, all the efforts put across to address this will be futile.


Richard Asiimwe, Businessman

Although women empowerment can’t be achieved to that level where everyone will be content, the world has made great progress. What is required is to continue encouraging and empowering women through organising different trainings and workshops on women-related issues. Men too should be involved and encouraged to attend such workshops to understand what is required.


Valence Gasore, Teacher

I think men should be enlightened on issues related to women, this is important because when the whole society is educated on gender issues, it’s easier to make significant progress. Such initiatives should start right away from the lower level of learning so that everyone is instilled with the right information.