Women legislators are upbeat as they celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Rwanda Women Parliamentary Forum (FFRP), this month.
This was noted in a media conference, yesterday, as top FFRP members highlighted efforts and achievements made to champion women rights and ensure equality for Rwandan men, women and children, during the last 15 years.
Senator Marie Mukantabana, the FFRP chairperson, told reporters that despite challenges like poverty, Rwandan women have become role models for Africa and the world.
Mukantabana and her colleagues observed that gender mainstreaming in the country’s overall development has contributed to improving welfare, especially in governance.
She noted that Rwandan women have played a major role in promoting unity and reconciliation, as well as peace and security, at home and overseas.
Worldwide, Rwanda has the largest representation of women in parliament – 56 percent.
In other government elective structures, women representation is at least 30 percent, as required by the constitution.
Mukantabana noted that Rwandan women now have rights on property and inheritance, and can sign contracts with banks.
She highlighted labour equality matters and the fact that there are also laws that protect women and children against violence.
Nonetheless, the legislators acknowledge that despite the triumphs, challenges, especially poverty, still remain.
They admit that women have not entirely taken advantage of the rights bequeathed to them.
Senator Henriette Umulisa said there are plans to rise above these challenges.
“We need to continue with vigor, all activities we have been doing because we see results. But overcoming poverty is a process. We have to continue to help women pursue government programs.”
“It is a process, and from what we have done, there are indicators that the process is positive.”
The month long celebrations were launched on July 1 in Nyaruguru District, Southern Province but the national level event is planned for July 29, at Parliament buildings.
The theme of the anniversary is: “Unity, Dignity for a better future.”