Rwanda has launched the first-ever National Gender Standards, led by the Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), Private Sector Federation (PSF), and Gender Monitoring Office (GMO), with support from the United Nations Development Program and UN Women. ALSO READ: Women empowerment: A right or favour? The initiative provides organisations with guidance and best practices for adopting and implementing gender-sensitive policies and practices in their workplaces. This seeks to support inclusivity and equity across all sectors of society, thereby expanding opportunities for every parent, child, and family to thrive. ALSO READ: President Kagame to women: We are with you in gender equality struggle “Building a better world requires the participation of everyone, equally,” the Director General of RSB, Raymond Murenzi, said during an event that was held at Kigali Serena Hotel on Thursday, March 30. He went on to say that promoting gender equality is a cornerstone to spurring inclusive sustainable development, and standards are benchmarks for safeguarding the quality and safety of people, products, and services. On the same occasion, the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) also launched its gender strategy, something which, Central Bank Governor, John Rwangombwa, assured will enable organisations to better reflect the diversity of their customers and clients, leading to increased business success. At the event, nine companies and public institutions were recognised with the Gender Equality Seal Certification Award, for excelling in creating gender-equal working environments. Those include the National Bank of Rwanda, National Industrial Research and Development Agency, Ministry of Trade and Industry, CIMERWA Pls, INKOMOKO, SINA GERARD Enterprise (Nyirangarama), NCBA Bank, Mata Tea Company, Rwanda Energy Group (REG), Legacy clinics and Kitabi Tea companies. The organisations received a gold certification from the Gender Monitoring Office of the Government of Rwanda. The prestigious recognition is awarded to institutions that have demonstrated a strong commitment to gender equality through their policies, practices, and culture. ALSO READ: Leading women in Rwanda’s banking sector Head of the Chief Gender Monitor, Rose Rwabuhihi, commended the certified organisations saying they have demonstrated that “gender equality is not only a moral imperative but also a business imperative.” “With the standards launched now, we are optimistic about having more inclusive and equitable workplaces,” she added. The National Gender Standards is going to be available to all institutions, regardless of size or sector, and will be enforced by RSB. The standards will complement the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy for financial institutions launched by the National Bank of Rwanda and the entrepreneurship desk run by the Gender Chamber at PSF. The Acting Chairperson of the PSF, Jeanne Mubiligi, also added that the country as a whole cannot achieve its social-economic goals by solely having a male-dominated private sector. “That’s why we pledge to continue making sure that gender promotion in the private sector is a reality,” she noted. The programme, meant to promote gender equality and accountability in the private sector, supports the selected institutions to establish gender accountability systems through the Gender Equality Seal (GES) certification programme for private sector companies and the Gender Equality Award (GEA) programme for public institutions which work closely with the private sector. The UNDP Resident Representative in Rwanda, Maxwell Gomera, who also spoke at the event, affirmed that “the goal of achieving a gender-equal society is achievable and within grasp.” “Together we can create a world in which every parent, every child, and every family has an opportunity to flourish. It starts with agreeing on common standards of conduct that we can all aspire to,” he said. The adoption and implementation of gender standards in workplaces are expected to improve employee morale, increase productivity and creativity, and enhance institutions’ reputation and brand image.