President Paul Kagame has said that nations that take women empowerment and gender equality seriously are likely to prosper.
In his International Women’s Day address, the President said that women are a cornerstone of prosperity for society thanks to their unique contributions.
“Women are a cornerstone of prosperity for society as a whole. Even in situations of conflict, they are in a position to make unique contributions to peace and stability,” Kagame said.
Citing Rwanda’s experience and benefits from women empowerment, Kagame said that it was no coincidence that the rebirth of Rwanda has been characterised by women empowerment.
“It is no accident that the renewal of Rwanda was also accompanied by significant upgrades in the status, roles, and responsibilities of women. The same is true in nearly every country where gender equality has been taken seriously,” he added.
Among the efforts that have facilitated the strides made so far, he noted, include progressive politics, legal reform and policy frameworks.
“Increasingly, everyone understands that there is an unacceptably high cost to gender inequality,” the Head of State added.
He called on nations to do more to ensure that women feel safe and enjoy equal opportunities.
“All over the world, we see that the facts on the ground still don’t reflect those good intentions. The recent media attention to the disturbing experiences many women continue to live with is a wake-up call for all of us not to take the gains for granted. Indeed, there is still much more to do to ensure that women feel safe and enjoy equal opportunity,” he noted.
To achieve the much desired equality and progress, the President said there is need to have an inclusive approach as opposed to parallel efforts.
“In pursuing this, it is important to act together. Not women on one side, and men on the other. After all, no one loses when women and girls experience equality and empowerment,” he said.
President Kagame has for long been a champion of gender equality and women empowerment.
He has backed gender equality movements such as HeforShe campaign, leading to his recognition through honours such as the Gender Champion Award by the African Women Movement.