International Women’s Day, first marked in Copenhagen, in 1910, will commemorate its centenary, today, March 8, 2010. It is a day when women are recognised for their achievements and their equality with men emphasized, irrespective of tribe, culture, economics, or politics.
March 8, is also an occasion to look back on past accomplishments and, more importantly, to look ahead to the potential and opportunities that await future generations.
This year, the UN theme is Equal rights, equal opportunities: progress for all. Gender equality and empowerment of women are fundamental to the mission of the UN to achieve equal rights and dignity for all.
Partial progress has been made towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs
Further more, let International Women’s Day be a time to remind ourselves that women are not only capable of achieving anything that men can, but that our societies can only become prosperous when women participate as equals. Promoting women’s political and economic participation is an important component of Rwanda’s development agenda.
This year’s theme perfectly matches the work the leadership of Rwanda has accomplished in recent years.
The Government of Rwanda’s support for women’s empowerment extends beyond words. It has supported educational, economic, and professional opportunities for women throughout the country, with a focus on strengthening and encouraging women leaders. Gender equality has been enshrined in the constitution.
And to the men, use the occasion of International Women’s Day to remind yourselves of your own responsibilities to ensure that women – in our families, our work-places and in our social lives – are accorded the respect and the opportunities they deserve to become partners in building a prosperous Rwanda.