Rwanda has embarked on a comprehensive plan that will see the country deal with gender inequality, sexual and gender-based violence and mainstreaming gender into peace and security structures, especially in peacekeeping. The National Action Plan is in line with implementation of the Resolution 1325 of the United Nations Security Council, which was adopted on October 31, 2000. The resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction. The five-year plan, which will run up to 2028, is also expected to enhance coordination among all the relevant institutions, raise awareness among stakeholders, and increase accountability among the actors responsible for its implementation. ALSO READ: Inside Rwanda's Rwf15bn plan to fix gender inequality in peacekeeping This is very important step for Rwanda because these two issues; women empowerment and peacekeeping have been close to the heart of the post-genocide government, both attributable to the country’s rather unfortunate past. It therefore comes as no surprise that Rwanda has embarked on this plan – a third of its kind – to shore up the participation of women in peacekeeping, of which the country now ranks fourth as a top troop contributor to UN peacekeeping missions globally. ALSO READ: Peacekeeping: Redefining the role of Rwandan women Increasing women in peacekeeping is a win for everyone involved, and Rwandans know probably better than anyone does. It is largely known that in all conflicts, its women and children who suffer more than anyone else. Having more women among peacekeepers therefore would help greatly not only in alleviating the suffering of communities in conflict zones, but can also play a key role in the mediation of warring parties to probably avert a full scale conflict. It is encouraging to note that through the National Action Plan, the government is looking at the overall increase of women in the security sector, including in Rwanda Defence Force, which is also part of the country’s development agenda. Rwanda is already leading in the area of empowering women, including in the top institutions like the legislature where women representation is at over 60 per cent, while in cabinet it is way beyond the constitutionally mandated 30 per cent threshold, among other milestones. This should therefore give the necessary impetus to drastically increase the number of women in uniform working with different security services of the country, where they remain underrepresented. To achieve this, it will be important to dismantle negative cultural norms in communities where it is still seen as a challenge for women to pursue certain professions, which have traditionally been seen as a preserve for men.