Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS) has appealed to more Rwandan women to join the service as prison wardens, saying that their female personnel have demonstrated capacity to perform just like their male counterparts.
CGP George Rwigamba, the Commissioner General of RCS, said female prison guards particularly play a major role in correcting female inmates.
“We have specific prisons for female inmates while others are mixed. That is why we need female prison guards because there are special tasks that require to be handled by certain genders. Some female inmates live with their kids, some came when they are pregnant, all these require female prison guards,” he said.
He made the call at a two-day Rwanda Correctional Service women convention which closed Thursday in Remera, Kigali.
It brought together more than 400 women working in administration, senior officers, as well as prison guards.
It was held under the theme: “Empowering correctional service officers to promote gender equality and fight against gender based violence.”
According to RCS, the forum was a good opportunity to discuss gender equality and equity principle in correctional service, development of female prison guards, and sharing experiences.
Currently, women stand at 24 per cent of the total prison guards but they want to increase it to meet the Labour Law requirement of a minimum of 30 per cent.
SIP Pelly Gakwaya Uwera, RCS director of gender mainstreaming, said gender equality is improving compared to previous years, where the number of female prison guards was very low.
She said that, in various prisons, female prison guards occupy various positions and perform their duties well.
“Men and women attend similar training and performance levels are not based on one’s gender,” she said.
Currently, the number of prison wardens is 1,685 of whom 404 are females (24 per cent).
In 2011 when RCS was established, the number of female wardens was only 8 per cent.
Speaking at the same forum, the Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, Esperance Nyirasafari, said female prison wardens can help the country understand the root causes of gender based violence through talking to inmates incarcerated for the crime.
The minister urged women in correctional services to teach inmates values that promote behavioural change among inmates.
She also asked participants to discuss ways of collaboration to end gender inequality.
“This platform should serve as an opportunity to seek ways of collaboration with the RCS to end issues of gender violence in families. They are dealing with the correction of inmates, including those who committed gender violence crimes. Some of the areas they can help us is to understand the reason behind such crimes by talking to inmates and use the knowledge they learn to educate inmates about women’s rights so that they can go back in the community with a new mindset,” said the minister.
She applauded women in uniform for embracing roles traditionally allocated to men, including taking up security related jobs.
Among the key resolutions from the meeting include strengthening of gender balance through RCS budget, increasing the number of women in correction service deployed in peacekeeping missions, encourage cohabiting staff to formalise their marriages, and allowing female married personnel to work near their families if it does not compromise their duties.