It is essential to strengthen efforts geared at boosting women’s financial empowerment to increase their contribution to national economic development, Donathile Mukabarisa, the speaker of Parliament has said.
Speaking during a workshop on gender equity and job-creation, Mukabarisa added that improving women’s skills (in different sectors) is also crucial to boost their contribution to national economic development. The workshop brought together 65 women working with different cooperatives and also aimed at equipping them with business proposal writing skills to increase their chances of access to finance.
“Promoting gender equity and equality helps government to promote inclusive development,” she said, adding that Article 10 of the constitution promotes gender equity.
Mukabarisa, who is also the chairperson of Liberal Party, urged women to make use of the existing opportunities by forming cooperatives, saying working in groups contributes a lot to women’s financial empowerment. Besides helping to build your financial capacity, working in cooperatives fast-tracks personal and national development, she added. The national assembly speaker said that the government’s seven-year programme underscores the importance of working together as a country to achieve its development targets.
“Remember, women cannot compete when they are not economically empowered. That’s why it is essential to promote initiatives that empower women and enable them to participate fully in national development efforts,” she said.
We also need more women to participate in politics and other sectors, she noted on Sunday.
Jean Paul Kabera, the Liberal Party deputy chief gender monitor, said more have been achieved in post-genocide Rwanda mainly in terms of legal and institutional frameworks that support gender equality and women empowerment for sustainable socio-economic development.
Kabera said, in terms of financial inclusion, bank savings by women increased from 29 per cent in 2008 to over 47 per cent, while Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) have 46 per cent women members, and access to credit by women has increased to about 39 per cent.
“It is also laudable that institutions are required to ensure gender responsive budgeting where money is always set aside for activities related to gender equality promotion. However, there are still some gaps where women are reluctant to compete for some positions in different sectors,” he added.
Kabera said 64 per cent of Rwanda’s Members of Parliament are women, while 38 per cent are in senate, 39.4 per cent in cabinet, 43 per cent in district councils, 34.5 per cent in Gacaca courts, and 43 per cent in judiciary.
Women speak out
Diane Uwurukundo, Gicumbi District
I have vocational skills that helped me to create my own job and employ other Rwandans. I also joined a local co-operative which has helped me to access funding and expand my businesses.
We were trained that if we join cooperatives we can gain more and easily access finance. Besides, I am engaged in income-generating activities such as selling vegetables and fruits. If I invest Rwf30,000, I can get Rwf12,000 in profits within two days.
Alvera Kabudeyi, a basket weaver in Ngoma District
I am a member of a handicraft cooperative…However, there is need to boost the capacity of cooperatives, especially supporting them to improve management skills. Artisans and small entrepreneurs should also be trained to improve their craftsmanship and businesses. Through handicraft-making, I have been able to pay school fees for my six children.
I save some of my earnings with a handicraft SACCO.