Refer to the story, “Low female university admissions: Is it time for affirmative action?” (Sunday Times, July 13).
I for one support and encourage an affirmative action or a positive discrimination policy in the admission of girls/women in higher education.
Our culture has tended to make it difficult for female citizens to make it to the top, making our daughters, sisters and wives look like second class citizens. Historically, Rwandan women have doubly suffered because of their gender, for belonging to a “wrong gender” and negative policies practiced by former discriminatory regimes. The effects of those practices are still visible to date.
Nonetheless, today our women are lucky because of the impressive gains they have made in terms of empowerment across all social strata thanks to the post-Genocide government. Yet we need to support them even further, including lowering their admission points to boost their enrolment in institutions of higher learning.
It is also important to remember that, most of the women in the countryside are still disadvantaged. The ones see in flashy and huge cars are not really representative of the ordinary Rwandan woman.
I am sure enough is already in place for girls to succeed on the same platform like their male counterparts. In analysing the problem from results of admission we are forgetting that this is just a symptom.
Sixty-nine per cent male admission at the University of Rwanda is a reflection of 16 or more years in school system. If we need results of today’s empowerment programmes that target the girl child, then we have got to be patient.
Applying quota system would not solve the root causes of the problem but would rather make the girls believe that they need to be favoured over males to make it in life. Favouritism is corruption and corruption is simply unacceptable in Rwanda.
Ivan Mbaraga, Rwanda
To read that girls comprise less than one-third of the students admitted to study at UR this year is shocking news, especially for a country that prides itself on gender equality. And while it is fine to talk about improving these results in the future, that will not help the girls who want to join university this year. Action must be taken now!