Engagement of men and boys in gender equality matters is an obvious and needed strategy to overcome the persisting challenges in promotion of equal rights, the Minister for Gender and Family Promotion has said. Jeannette Bayisenge made the remarks Thursday during a virtual address to the G20 Ministerial Conference on Women Empowerment, one of a series of meetings taking pace ahead of the G20 Heads of State and Government meeting due in Rome, Italy in October 2021. “We believe that engaging men and boys and challenging traditional masculinities will lead to lasting behavioural change and creating strong allies in the process of empowering women and girls,” she said. The Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion has in recent past moved to engage several stakeholders in the gender equality space, including Rwanda Mens Resource Centre (RWAMREC), with whom they are implementing a project dubbed ‘Indashyikirwa’ under which couples train in behaviour change. The idea, according to officials, is to promote gender equality and complementarity, and fight gender-based violence through creating a critical mass of change agents. Rwanda’s experience During her speech, Bayisenge shared Rwanda’s experience in closing gender gaps over the last 27 years, citing different achievements made since. “Today, Rwanda is among the leading countries with the highest number of women in decision-making positions with 61.3% female Members of Parliament and is ranked 7th globally in closing gender gaps according to the Global Gender Gap Report, 2021,” she said. In the economic sector, the minister noted, “women are gaining their independence and contributing to their own empowerment with 92% women financially included from 87% in 2016 versus 93% of men (FinScope Rwanda 2020).” In education, the net enrolment of girls has significantly increased in both primary and secondary schools. “With regards to the enrolment in Science, Technology and Mathematics courses (STEM), the number of girls has increased by 8667 (from 56,783 in 2016 to 65,450 in 2019) and it was estimated at 44.7% compared to 55.3% of boys in 2019 (Education Statistical Year Book, 2019). “In the same context, girls are joining the coding academy to be part of the next generation of software developers and innovators,” she told the meeting. The minister added, “We strongly believe that the commitments recently made by the country during the Generation Equality Forum will help to double the number of women and girls supported by innovations centres.” Over the years, Rwanda, she said, “was guided by a spirit of unity and inclusiveness that put gender equality as a socio-economic transformation endeavour but also as a good governance, democracy, and human right principle”.