Last week, Rwanda joined the rest of the world to recognize the international Women’s Day. Official celebrations were conducted at the Mudugudu level, which enabled mass attendance since it was at grass roots level.
For Rwanda, the day meant more than just the celebrations. This is based not only on the achievements of the National Women Council (NWC), women contribution towards national development, but also the many government programs put in place in fighting against gender based violence as well measures taken to develop women at the grass roots.
In Rwanda, various radio stations conducted programs where callers were given the chance to contribute on what the day meant for women development as well as the focus.
With the many strategies in place among other developments, headmasters no longer have the right to send girls away from school upon getting pregnant.
Damien Mugabo is among the parents who have both male and female children.
He says “I do not understand. Is this a resolution, development or what…? I do not believe this can discourage them from getting pregnant. I believe these girls should be discontinued.”
And added “My opinion is that when these girls loose a year with out going to school, it serves as a social punishment and others will also learn from such experience.”
He also wondered what measures are to be taken against boys or some men who may pregnant these girls.
“As we encourage equal rights and fight against violation of women rights, it is also wise to consider ways of discouraging tendencies that may distort our cultural beliefs,” he advised.
He added “It is against the Rwandan culture for a girl to get pregnant outside marriage so we have to fight to discourage our daughters.”
It appears like time is coming when men are also going to fight for their rights, Mr. Ben a radio presenter, is quoted to having said during their morning show with Uncle Austin on radio 10 the next day of the Women`s Day celebrations.
Mr.Ben pointed out areas where he believes certain situations may call for advocacy of men’s rights.
“Situations like when female students are sponsored living behind males who performed far better than them and the freedom which may oppress the opposite sex might be dangerous in the near future,” he said.
Callers were given the chance to contribute through expressing their views on various issues and according to Mr.Ben male callers dominated the show although females contributed too.
However, Martin M. Masabo, the headmaster of Lycee de Kigali gives a clarification on various issues especially on discontinuing pregnant girls from school.
He says “Sending away these girls from school is not the best way to handle such a situation, based to the fact that certain girls are abused with out their own decision.” He however admitted other girls who are badly brought up, can also easily be take to bad tendencies which may result into pregnancy.
But he added that “These girls can be given the time to rest until they give birth and continue with studies.”
He also advised that to avoid psychological torture and feeling out of place with other students, it is also important that such a student changes to any other school where she feels comfortable to effectively concentrate with other students.
“The peace of mind is a very strong tool to ones active mind. It is therefore important for such a student to change to any other school so that she does not feel out of place with other students or avoid the shame,” he said.