Activists call for more absorption of women in national workforce

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Dominique Muchochori Kanobana. ‘That difference is more stressed among the holder of secondary level education living in urban areas where the unemployment rate among women is 26.6 per cent; more than twice higher than the one of men at 12.5 per cent.’

Despite efforts to mainstream women into the country’s productive sectors to ensure their economic empowerment, a new survey has established that 26.6 per cent of women in urban areas are unemployed.

While presenting the findings of a study conducted on decision-making, domestic violence, maternal and child health and the economic activities to establish the status of gender equality in the four development areas, the UN Women Technical Advisor for Gender Statistics, Dominique Muchochori Kanobana, said regardless of the level of education or the area of residence the unemployment rate is higher among women as compared to men.

“That difference is more stressed among the holder of secondary level of education living in urban areas where the unemployment rate among women is 26.6 per cent; more than twice higher than the one of men at 12.5 per cent,” he said.

The comparison with 2010/11 survey shows that the proportion of working age population who are employed increased by 5 per cent among men and by about 3 per cent among women from between 2010 and 2014.

The survey also touched on the issue of labour force where it says the majority of the Rwandan women labour force has not attended or did not complete the primary school level of education with 66 per cent as compared to 59 per cent for men.

The proportion of the labour force who attended at least the upper secondary school is only 8 per cent women against 11 per cent men.

The proportion of the labour force that has a high level of education (at least lower secondary) is slightly higher among men (18 per cent) as compared to the proportion of the same category among women (13 per cent).

Designing policies

The Deputy Chief Gender Monitoring in Charge of Gender Mainstreaming, Jean Paul Kabera, said that it is important to recognise the importance of appropriate data for designing policies and assessing progress toward the goal of gender equality promotion.

“Gender equality is a goal itself and a prerequisite for long term democratic development, equitable sustainable development and a means towards poverty reduction,” he said.

“Reliable statistics broken down by sex highlight conditions for both women and men and are fundamental in evidence based information in decision making, planning and monitoring.”

The Executive Director of Health Development Initiative (HDI), Aflodis Kagaba, said progress when it comes to supporting women to advance has been made and should be supported more to take on decision-making positions.

“I strongly believe that women can do it. We need to know how many women compete for these positions and also if they really have the confidence to believe in their abilities. Women can compete and take on these positions,” he said.

The survey is collaborative work between United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the Forum for Female Parliamentarians of Rwanda (FFRP) and the Ihorere Munyarwanda, a local civil society organisation.

It was financially and technically supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and Statistics Sweden.

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