Today, Rwanda joins the rest of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day. Rwandan women have much to celebrate; the achievements of the last two decades speak for themselves and have been recognised on the world stage.
Apart from the country having the world’s largest female representation in parliament, a recent survey affirmed that Rwanda was one of the best places to raise a girl.
Late last year, the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Rwanda 4th globally in gender equality, closely behind Iceland, Norway and Finland.
In describing Iceland’s global domination in closing the gender gap, WEF said: “It requires the collective action and solidarity of women human rights defenders, political will, and tools such as legislation, gender budgeting and quotas”.
The same can be said of Rwanda. It has invested heavily in women empowerment. Today, women occupy jobs that were once the reserve for men, even back-breaking work such as on construction sites. Education and changing the once patriarchal society’s traditional mindset have been the deciding factors.
As the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion rightly said, this year the focus will be on sustaining the gains in empowering women and girls through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) that has played a big role in women getting out of their cocoons and challenging the male world.
Gone are the days when women could not inherit property and married couples today manage their property equally. Sustaining those gains should be everyone’s focus so that we have a truly equal society, a fitting tribute as we wish our sisters, mothers and daughters a Happy Women’s Day.