Efforts put in place to empower women and encourage them to actively participate in decision making have helped improve their welfare and that of other members of their communities, women leaders in Huye District have said.
They were speaking on Tuesday during a one-day meeting with members of Rwanda Women Parliamentary Forum (FFRP), a network of women parliamentarians.
The meeting discussed the benefits of women empowerment and gender equity as well as the journey women have traversed in transforming their lives.
Namana Seraphine, 77, a retired civil servant, said women were in the past considered as individuals “created only to beget children, care for husbands and handle home chores.”
“For years, women lived in the backyard with little access to resources and money, which prompted them to live in misery,” Namana observed.
“But today it is a whole new world for us thanks to efforts towards education of girls and encouraging women to take up roles in decision making entities as well as perform tasks that were hitherto reserved for men,” she said.
Namana said the change observed in women’s lives has also impacted the lives of other members of the community.
“Once a woman develops, the entire family and community benefits. And that is what we are observing in our communities. We are seeing more women actively engaged in improving the socio-economic conditions of their families,” Namana said.
Ancilla Nkundimana, a representative of women in Tumba Sector, said in order to safeguard the gains so far registered, there is need for women to continue working hard to prove their abilities and keep championing for their rights.
“We continue to remind young girls about their contribution toward national development in order to nurture them into better future leaders and key drivers of the nation’s socio-economic development,” Nkundimana said.
Speaking at the function, MP Athanasie Gahondogo, told women that laws and policies guaranteeing their role and participation in the country’s social, political and economic life are bearing fruit and urged them to keep making a difference in their communities.
“Let’s continue to be agents of positive change in society in order to prove that we deserve the place where we are today,” Gahondogo said, challenging them to be result-oriented.
Rwanda has the highest women representation of any Parliament in the world, constituting an unprecedented 64 per cent of the Lower House.
Women are also strongly represented in other national and local institutions, well above the constitutional threshold of 30 per cent that either gender is guaranteed in decision-making organs.