EDPRS: Gender Mainstreaming and Women’s Empowerment Strategies in Rwanda

BY GODFREY NTAGUNGIRA Rwanda’s deliberate policy moves to embrace gender mainstreaming evaluation in EDPRS period demonstrates its government’s strong commitment to promoting gender equality in its development work.


Rwanda’s deliberate policy moves to embrace gender mainstreaming evaluation in EDPRS period demonstrates its government’s strong commitment to promoting gender equality in its development work.

Reports from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning reviewed the progress in gender mainstreaming to facilitate the development of a more effective society.

In the EDPRS programmes it is expected that gender equity will be demonstrated in the key areas of national economy such as growth and poverty reduction. This will also be expected to be reflected in more specific anti-poverty measures such as reduced income disparities and gender equity as it impacts on the MDGS.


During the first year of EDPRS implementation, important achievements can be demonstrated in a number of areas.

1. National policy framework

A draft of national gender policy has been elaborated with the Ministry of Gender in the Prime Minister’s Office and its key stakeholders. The purpose of this is  to provide the government of Rwanda and its partners with a framework that guides the integration of a gender perspective into all sectors and institutions.

2. Gender guidelines by minecofin and other sectors

Guidelines for gender based budgeting have been developed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

All sector and district focal points of gender have been trained in gender mainstreaming in the planning process.

Among leaders of change, 50 church leaders were trained in mainstreaming gender into various church programs.

3. National Gender profile established

A national gender profile was established as baseline to guide the planning process in all sectors. It indicates baseline indicators of gender profile in various sectors, economic, social as well as governance during a biennial period covering 2005-2007.

4. Creation of national monitoring office

By law no 51-2007 of 20-09-2007, a gender monitoring office in charge of monitoring the quality of gender mainstreaming in various institutions was created and three of its high staff were appointed.

All gender focal points in all sectors are positioned in planning, budgeting and policy review in various development plans.

5. Gender parity in educational enrolment

Gender parity in net primary enrolment has already been achieved. Currently the rate is slightly higher for girls at 95.8% than the boys which stands at 94.7%.However  there are persistent gender imbalances in retention, transition and completion rates at the primary and secondary levels.

6. Development of Girl’s education policy

More efforts need to be deployed to address the issue of low attendance rates of girls in science fields at secondary and tertiary levels.

Consequently, the Ministry of Education has developed the girl’s education policy and comprehensive girl’s education strategic plan 2008-2012.

This will contribute to the implementation of the girl’s education policy and to the vision of quality and equitable education for all. The aim of this policy  move is to improve girl’s enrolment retention, completion and transition to higher levels of education.

Health Sector

1. Increment in pre-natal care coverage

Pre-natal care coverage increased by 2% from 94% in 2007 to 96%.

The percent of assisted births were close to 40% by 2005 and increased by 12.1% in 2007-2008.Mothers delivering in health facilities increased from 35% in 2007 to 45% in 2008.

2. Reduced infant mortality rates

All those interventions impacted positively on the infant mortality rate which decreased from 8.2% in 2007 to 6.2% in 2008. In the field of family planning there in terms of accessibility  between the urban area which is pegged at 36% and the rural areas which is pegged at 26%.

Therefore, that increase impacted on the reduction of the fertility rate which decreased from 6.1% in 2005-2007 to 5.5% in 2008.

3. Curding HIV-Aids incidences

In the area of pandemic diseases, concerted efforts to target HIV-AIDS and TB interventions to poor women who are disproportionately affected were instituted.

The significant program implemented is the prevention of mother to child transmission PMTCT which was extended to 336 sites in Rwanda by the end of 2008.

Judicial reforms

Rwanda is the signatory to nearly all international conventions specific to women’s rights having already ratified 14 of these instruments.

Rwanda currently holds the world record as regards to participation of the women in the parliament as the result of the 2008 parliamentary elections. The female representative currently is at  56% in the chamber of deputies and 34% in the senate. The current speaker in the chamber of deputies is a woman.

The number of discriminatory aspects of certain legislative provisions in gender are under revision. These include the penal code, civil code, the decree of August 2, 1913 relating to the tradesmen and the proof of commercial engagements. So is  the decree of July 27, 1934 relating to bankruptcy and the preventive legal settlement and the decree of April 15, 1958 relating to mutual associations.

When women get involved in politics of their country, they gain a better understanding of power and discover that it is an indispensable goal if they want to have a voice in key decisions.

Those in corridors of power believe that being outside is not the same as being inside. Those who are inside have to find a way to make it more flexible and change it.


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