President Paul Kagame yesterday spoke at the annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting, calling on countries to scale up efforts to empower women.
The President, who was part of a panel discussing the theme; “Girls and Women: Scaling up what works”, said that it is up to leaders from all sectors to embrace women empowerment to ensure that a balance in gender exists.
“The onus is on those who have been privileged in the past; men and boys, to make sure that we address this problem of imbalance,” Kagame said.
“It is not that boys and men are doing a favour to women, it’s just making sure that they work together to play their part in their own development and development of the country”.
The Head of State addressed the session titled “Engaging Boys and Men as Allies for Long Term Change” whose other panellists included, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Muhammad Yunis, the International Director of Instituto Promundo, and Gary Barker, the Chief Executive Officer of Roshan Karim Khoja.
The panel was moderated by the Former President of the Republic of Chile, Michele Bachelet.
The panel opened with remarks from Melanne Verveer, the US Ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues, who reminded the audience that empowering women benefits everyone.
“When women and girls make progress, we all benefit…we know what works to improve the lives of women and girls and we need to start pulling in the same direction,” Verveer said.
Referring to Rwanda as an example of women empowerment, Bachelet called on President Kagame to share his advice with world leaders.
Kagame explained that the success of gender equality has been based on the institutionalisation of women empowerment policies.
The panellists echoed the need for men and boys to be partners in ensuring that gender equality is a right rather than a privilege.
Recounting his efforts with microfinance, Yunus pointed out that through tools such as social media, that do not discriminate on any basis, today’s youth offered additional hope to see gender equality become a reality.
“We challenge you to make the impossible possible,” he added.
The session ended with a call to action for all CGI members and beyond to do their part to empower women and girls in partnership with boys and men.
In his concluding remarks, President Kagame told the audience that empowering women is common sense and leaders from all sectors ought to embrace it.