The Chief Gender Monitor, Odda Gasinzigwa, believes that for Africa to keep up the development pace, gender equality needs to be advocated for and encouraged.
This, she said, will not only eliminate discrimination among people but will ensure respect to international human rights laws.
She was reacting to a report released by the World Bank showing that countries that create better opportunities and conditions for women and girls have chances of raising their productivity and development opportunities for their countries.
Gasinzigwa noted that although women, in some countries, are sometimes discriminated against, they possess political, social and economic potential of developing their countries.
“Women act as pillars of development globally, because they contribute a lot towards the development of our countries. If you involve both women and men, you will not fail to get good results,” she said.
According to the report titled; “Gender Equality and Development”, in Sub-Saharan countries, women and girls continue to face severe disadvantages and a particular concern is that of high female mortality, or lack of their participation in the development agenda, which could be the reason the region remains behind.
Gasinzigwa noted that the Rwandan government’s initiative to sensitize and lay strategies to involve women in the development processes, is paying off.
“Due to good leadership, women were brought on board and we’re are now serving in various capacities in the country and abroad, like peacekeeping in Haiti, Sudan and others,” she said.
She said promoting women is like depositing your money in a bank.
Rwanda is the first country in the world where women outnumber men in parliament with 56%, and a female Speaker.
According to the report, in sub-Sahara Africa, women’s share in the labour force is one of the highest in the world — 61% — but their economic opportunities are far worse than those of men.
It’s also said that women farmers lack security of tenure in many countries, and this translates into lower access to credit and inputs and to inefficient land use as this leads to reduction in yields.
In a statement, World Bank Group President, Robert B. Zoellick, acknowledged that the bank has previously invested in gender equality pledging continued support for the promotion of gender.
“We need to achieve gender equality; over the past five years, the World Bank Group has provided $65 billion towards supporting girls’ education, women’s health, and women’s access to credit, land, agricultural services, jobs, and infrastructure,” he said.