The main challenge for Rwandan women, according to Chief Justice Aloysia Cyanzaire, is to strive even harder to maximise their potential,in all areas of life. She said this while addressing women who gathered to commemorate the International Women’s Day.
A lot has been said and written about the excellent representation of Rwandan women on the political arena. In fact, even the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), commended this achievement by Rwanda’s females, of 56.25 percent representation.
In spite of this great increase in the number of women parliamentarians since 1995, a lot more is still expected especially in the social and economic arenas. Indeed it is up to the women to utilise the available platforms and opportunities to attain bigger achievements.
The government has introduced strong policies that emphasise and encourage gender equality and equity. With the intention of ensuring that all citizens, including the rural women, participate equally in the development process, gender monitoring offices were instituted in all districts and provinces.
This is in fulfilment of article 185 of the constitution which ensures that gender equity is observed in all sectors of development.
In Rwanda and the world over, Gender-Based Violence (GBV), has been cited as a major impediment to women’s empowerment, but certainly our country has taken a stronger stance to end the prevalence of this vice.
Men too, have been equally engaged so it is clearly up to the women to ensure that their involvement in the development process is felt.
Various channels of financial aid for example, have been opened to stimulate economic prosperity, most of which are in favour of women.
With regard to fighting GBV, women should lead the way by reporting these cases, unlike in the past when many had a perception that GBV is part and parcel of the marital institution or work environment.
Silence can only conceal a problem that otherwise undermines all the efforts to advance the status of women in our society.