By Geoffrey Wakibi
HeforShe is a global movement spearheaded by UN Women to engage men and boys to participate in eradicating social and cultural barriers that hinder women and girls from achieving their full potential. Different from what was in the past, today, it has been generally accepted that realizing sustainable gender equality requires a comprehensive strategy where men and women are part of the call for equality of all.
The HeForShe campaign, firstly, aims at mobilizing individual men and boys to pledge their support for gender equality and women’s empowerment by signing up to the campaign online. The Campaign further aims at creating force by inspiring change from the highest levels of government, private sector and academia through impact Champions within the sectors selected to drive the campaign under a program termed “impact 10x10x10” Commitments .
Rwanda has joined the rest of the world to support the campaign agenda and through the Ministry of Gender and family Promotion is engaging different stakeholders in the country to encourage men and boys to sign up to the campaign.
On the 18th of June 2015, 10 Heads of States, 10 Heads of Corporations and 10 Heads of Universities were announced as impact Champions to take on the global outreach and advocacy for the “impact 10x10x10”program. H.E Paul Kagame, President of the republic of Rwanda was among the Heads of State. Each impact Champion made ambitious, impactful and realistic commitments to end gender inequality by focusing on three key priority areas in which gender gaps remain significant.
Focusing on the context of HeforShe Campaign in Rwanda, the initiative comes to contribute to the already existing initiatives and measures that have enhanced women and girls empowerment. The latter is embedded in the medium as well as in the long term development instruments and this has translated into transformational impact. Women empowerment and gender equality form part of the planning and budgeting process in the country. Women rights to property ownership like land have been guaranteed in addition to poverty reduction programs that have greatly improved their livelihoods.
In the recent past , Rwanda became the first country in the world to have majority female representation in its parliament at 56% in 2008, nearly doubling its 30% quota for women and since 2013, an average of 64% of parliamentary seats have been taken by women.