Senate decries low number of women in grassroots leadership

Though the law stipulates that women shall constitute at least 30 per cent of all decision making organs, the number of women and youth in these positions at the grassroots level is still very low, the Senate heard Wednesday.
Dr Jeanne Nyirahabimana, the Mayor of Kicukiro District, is one of the five distrcit mayors who are women. File.
Dr Jeanne Nyirahabimana, the Mayor of Kicukiro District, is one of the five distrcit mayors who are women. File.

Though the law stipulates that women shall constitute at least 30 per cent of all decision making organs, the number of women and youth in these positions at the grassroots level is still very low, the Senate heard Wednesday.

Presenting a report on the 2015 Referendum and the 2016 grassroots elections, the President of the Senatorial Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Good Governance, Jean Nipomuscene Sindikubwabo told the Senate that one of the principles that the commission assessed was the one concerning gender equality checking whether there are equal rights and freedoms between men and women, equal opportunities, whether it’s in politics, economy, social welfare and culture.

 

Senator Sindikubwabo says that their findings were discouraging.

 

“For instance, only two women are leading district councils (in Nyagatare and Gasabo districts). Out of 30 districts, only five have female mayors (in Nyarugenge, Kicukiro, Burera, Rutsiro and Muhanga). Only six women are in the position of Vice Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs. Up to 24 are men,” he said.

 

Both men and women were given equal opportunities whether it’s in contesting for a position, electing and being elected, he said. On the voters’ list, there were 3.5 million female voters and 2.9 million men.

Sindikubwabo also said that the youth was another category whose representation in decision making areas was still low.

“In all district administrative levels, there is not a single person who is in the youth category. Among those elected into district advisory committees in all districts and the City of Kigali, who are 93 in total, none is between 21 and 30,” he said.

He said that their assessment based on asking different stakeholders concluded that there was still a confidence issue, lack of cooperation between men and women especially when it comes to domestic duties which, he said, limits most women’s time that could have been spent campaigning especially at the grassroots level.

“We probably need to join in sensitisation drives to disseminate more information on the principles of gender and youth promotion. It is our duty to provide some guidance,” he said.

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