There is need for concerted efforts in pursuit of gender equity at all levels so as to achieve the countryâs development agenda, the Prime Minister, Anastase Murekezi has said.
The Premier made the remarks during celebrations to mark the International Womenâs Day, in Ngoma District, Eastern Province, yesterday.
The day was marked under the theme; âLetâs strengthen performance contracts in development.â
âThere is good will in ensuring gender equity. We can only achieve sustainable development through ensuring gender equity,â Murekezi said.
The premier noted that efforts to empower women should not be left to leaders alone, but every citizen should take it upon themselves if gender equity is to be visibly evident in the country.
Rwanda has ensured gender equity in all governance policies, including budget allocation as well as ensuring gender sensitive provisions in national constitution. However, the challenges are still many, he said.
He reiterated governmentâs commitment to ensuring gender equity, noting that; âeveryone wins when women interests are put on the forefront.â
The Chairperson of National Womenâs Council, Beatrice Mukasine, challenged women to take advantage of the existing policies to move ahead.
âWomen should be at the centre of development; fighting human trafficking, fighting drug abuse, taking students to school, and good feeding in families. This will lead to family promotion and national development in the long run,â Mukasine said.
Mukasine noted that child birth-rate per family has reduced from six children to 4.5 children per family, reiterating that the journey is still long to ensure desired family planning policy of having at most three children per family.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Lamin Manneh noted that, even though thereâre lots of gender related challenges to be âurgently tackledâ on the global scale, Rwanda has a lot to recommend in terms of ensuring gender equity.
Rwanda has 64 per cent of parliamentary women representative, [compared to the average 21 per cent of female legislative representation for the rest of the world], Manneh noted, while 40 per cent of women occupy Cabinet in Rwanda.
Yesterdayâs celebration coincided with the 20th anniversary of Beijing declaration and Platform of action; the worldâs roadmap for promoting gender equality and empowerment of women.
âWe can see a strong commitment by the government in its vision of gender equality and ensuring stable and strong families in the country, which we applaud,â Manneh added.
The International Womenâs Day is celebrated annually, on March 8.
This yearâs celebration in Rwanda has been used to evaluate performance contacts signed by women at district and sector levels during last yearâs celebrations.
Under the new contracts signed, yesterday, women committed to ensuring good feeding of children, hygiene in the homestead, fighting prostitution, ensuring that children attend schools, supporting fellow vulnerable women, resolving domestic wrangles and helping women street vendors get permanent stalls in established markets.
âWomen should do everything possible to reach their performance contracts for Rwandaâs economic transformation,â PM Murekezi urged.
âLetâs help one another so that our children can have food at school and also have girls attend school. Through this, we will reach our development goal.â
The national Womenâs Day celebrations also had a particular focus on the tenth edition of the presentation of awards to the best performing girls in national examinations by the Imbuto Foundation under the annual Girls Education Campaign.
Yesterday, 40 top performing girls received awards from the Prime Minister while a total of 420 primary and secondary school girls will be recognised countrywide, over the next few weeks.
Championed by the First Lady Jeannette Kagame, the promotion of Girlsâ Education Campaign consists of publically awarding girls who have excelled in national exams by giving scholastic materials, ICT training and funds to create savings accounts. Imbuto Foundation recognises over 400 girls countrywide annually.
The campaign was initiated in 2005, to motivate girls to perform well in school. Since then, over 3,800 girls have been recognised for their excellence while 156 have received IT essential training.
âRewarding girls will have a bigger multiplier impact and encourage them to work hard,â Manneh said.
With 97.5 per cent rate of access to basic education for both boys and girls, Rwanda ranks high on the African continent in that respect which is one of the main pillars towards achieving Millennium Development goals.
Clarisse Mukete, 19, a student at Groupe Scolaire Cyambwe in Ngoma District said that, âparents should be supportive to the girlsâ dreams for them to be able to overcome traditional gender stereotypes, gender based violence and poverty.â
Physically impaired Egidia Nirere, who completed high school last year, said âlearning by her experience, no girl should feel any hindrance towards achieving their dreams.â
Nirere who studied Mathematics, Economics and Computer Science, was among 38 vulnerable women warded a cow by the National Womenâs Council and Ministry of Gender and Family promotion yesterday.