The role of women in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will only be cemented if key social challenges such as gender inequality, poverty and violence against women and girls are addressed.
This was said by the Gender and Family Promotion minister Esperance Nyirasafari during a consultative meeting that brought together different government stakeholders.
The Thursday meeting was organised to chart a common understanding on women-related SDGs to establish future working relations to ensure that gender related SDGs are being effectively and successfully implemented in communities.
Nyirasafari said gender equality is thriving and the country is really benefiting from it, thanks to efforts made so far to promote it, but that some challenges that still need attention.
“It’s true that our country has made great strides in promoting gender equality, ensuring no one is left behind in development, and it is commendable that there are no longer jobs that are preserve for men or women but there are some challenges that remain and resolving them requires all our effort,” she said.
“Promoting gender equality and women empowerment is not only a fundamental human right but also a necessary foundation principle for sustainable development. People should therefore have equal responsibilities and equal opportunity. No one should feel superior to another if we need to achieve the SDG agenda.”
The minister said the fact that women stand at 52 per cent of the country’s total population should mean that women contribution should not be overlooked if the country needs to achieve SDGs.
Fatou Lo, the UN Women deputy representative, suggested that more meetings should be organised to evaluate the progress the of women’s empowerment in the SDGs implementation.
“There are a lot of indicators on gender that are embedded on SDGs and need more time to be effectively monitored to know how far we are to better strategize where we want to go, to successfully achieve the set SDG agenda,” Lo said.
Mediatrice Umubyeyi, the project coordinator at Pro-Femme Twese Hamwe, a local women organisation, said gender equality can be key to the success of SDG agenda should there be collective efforts between civil society organisations and the government on the implementation of SDGs.
She said there was need for collaboration especially to push for behavioral chance since some cases of gender discrimination are rooted in societal conviction and could not uprooted through just policy..