The Private Sector Federation (PSF), Gender Monitoring Office and One UN Rwanda have launched a programme that seeks to eliminate gender gaps in the private sector.
Launched on Wednesday, the ‘Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme’ will help Rwandan companies achieve higher return on investment capital, on equity and sales, officials said.
It will target six critical areas; elimination of gender-based pay gaps, increase of women’s role in decision-making, the enhancement of work-life balance, enhancement of women and men’s access to non-traditional jobs as well as eradication of sexual harassment at work.
Speaking at the event at which 35 companies signed commitments, PSF chairperson Benjamin Gasamagera welcomed the initiative and reiterated commitment to make it successful.
“The gender equity seal will improve national productivity and economic growth, increase organisational performance, enhance the ability of companies to attract talent, retain employees and enhance organizational reputation,” he said.
Gasamagera said such an initiative will address the issue of few women in the private sector considering that in a census conducted in 2014 in the private sector, the gender structure indicates that 36.3 per cent of workers in the country were female.
“Through effective implementation of this programme, companies will benefit in terms of improving the human resource management system to attract and retain a greater diversity of talents, which will contribute to improved competitiveness,” he added.
The Chief Gender Monitor, Rose Rwabuhihi, said the gender equity seal certification programme comes at the right time when the country has positioned the private sector as the engine of the national economy.
“We strongly believe that no sustainable development can be achieved when a group of Rwandan citizens are left behind or treated unequally in the workplace.
“Giving equal opportunities to both men and women to participate fully in the workplace is not only a great contribution to improving their lives as employees but also a strategy to increase the organisational productivity and ensure sustained economic returns,” she said.
Effects of gender gaps
According to Fode Ndiaye, UNDP country representative, gender inequality in the labour market costs sub-Saharan Africa $95 billion annually, which could be as high as $105 billion or eroding 6 per cent of the region’s GDP, according to the ‘Africa Human Development Report 2016: Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa’ published by UNDP.
The report shows that Africa’s GDP loss due to gender inequality equals to $28 trillion while global gender pay gap is 30 per cent. It also points out that women spend 50 per cent more time doing domestic work.
To date, over 1,700 companies across the globe have been certified in 13 countries and Rwanda becomes the second country on the African continent after Uganda to embrace the programme while South Africa, Gambia and Zambia are also about to initiate the process.