Rwanda will not tire to empower girls and women – Prime Minister

Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente (2nd left) launches a report on the state of gender equality in Rwanda alongside central bank Deputy Governor Monique Nsanzabaganwa (left) Minister for Family and Gender Promotion Solina Nyirahabimana (right) and Fodé Ndiaye, the UN Resident Coordinator. The index shows significant gains in Rwanda’s efforts to promote gender equality. Nadege Imbabazi.

Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente has said that Rwanda will not stop to promote gender equality and to empower women as their role in the realisation of both socio-economic development and transformation is unprecedented.

He was closing the ‘Women’s Celebration Month’ which coincided with the launch of the state of gender equality in Rwanda index, which shows that the country has made progress on several fronts in promoting gender equality.

“The Government of Rwanda will not tire to empower girls and women as well as giving equal opportunities to both girls and women,” the Premier said.

The celebration of women’s month in Rwanda was characterised with a number of activities, including the observation of the International Day of Women, which was marked on March 8, under the theme: “Together, Let’s Build a Safe Family.”

“The theme reminds us that family promotion and developing our country will only be achieved if both men and women play their equal role,” Ngirente noted on Friday.

The Prime Minister highlighted that the day to close the celebration was particularly a great moment to celebrate what Rwanda has achieved in empowering girls and women and developing their capacity in different fields, for the past 25 years.

“Rwanda established a political system and put in place a number of laws aimed at increasing capacity of all Rwandan women and removing barriers to enable them to proactively take part in socio-economic activities,” he said.

“We strongly believe that giving equal opportunities to men and women as well as girls and boys plays a critical role in achieving the country’s desired transformation.”

As reflected in the latest report on gender equality Rwanda has indeed made progress on multiple fronts of economic transformation, social transformation and transformational governance, although it reveals that there are prevailing challenges.

On key indicators, Rwanda has made sure that women and girls who were traditionally marginalised get increased access to finance, own land, get employment opportunities in both public and private offices, as well as take part in science education that was previously deemed for men.

For instance, women currently own more land (24 per cent) than their male counterparts (14 per cent), individually.

Married couples who own land stand at 58.3 per cent.

Land is considered the main asset for production and investment, and the report argues that land ownership in that sense has been instrumental in contributing to women’s access to finance.

According to the index, women’s access to land tremendously contributed to their control over productive resources and access to loans using land titles as collaterals, highlighting that land contributed to 38 per cent of women’s access to credit.

Generally, agriculture, industry and services continue to be the dominant sectors that provide employment opportunities for men and women at 39.5 per cent, 18.8 per cent and 41.7 per cent, respectively.

However, there are significantly fewer women who access agricultural loans (25.5 per cent) than men (74.5 per cent), despite the sector employing more women (54.6 per cent) than men (45.5 per cent).

Meanwhile, during the month, best performing girls in primary and secondary schools were awarded, in partnership with Imbuto Foundation.

It also featured the launch of social mobilisation campaign that seeks to motivate the girl child to perform well in school.

Under the leadership of First Lady Jeannette Kagame, Imbuto Foundation started the Promotion of the Girl Education Campaign in 2005 to encourage and increase the enrolment of girls in schools.

Since then, 4852 best performing girls have been awarded for their outstanding academic performance.

The prizes school materials, training in ICT as well as cash incentives to instil the culture of saving among girls.