As Rwanda and the world celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s proper to recognize and hail the government’s proactive gender equality policy that has made it possible for women to gain access to positions of power in all institutions of the state and at all levels of government.
As statistics show, women occupy 61% in the 80-member Lower Chamber of Deputies, 36% in the Senate; 50% in Cabinet, 50% judges in the judiciary and occupy 43.6% of the positions in district councils.
However, as The Chronicles reported, at lower levels in the administrative structure, the numbers of women in leadership positions are still low. For example, at the sector level, women constitute only 25.6% of executive secretaries.
In addition, the numbers of female leaders in business and banking sectors are still low─there is, for instance, only one female Chief Executive Officer in the banking industry; and that bank is largely government owned.
Therefore, although good progress has been made, more needs to be done to bring gender parity at all levels of government and the private sector. This is critical since, as different studies have shown, it’s when both women and men have equal access to opportunities in practice and are equally present in sites of power where key decisions are made, that sustainable development can be attained.
For greater sustainability, however, there is also need to include and canonize gender equality principles and practices in schools at all levels─from primary schools to secondary and higher institutions of leaning to informal spaces of leaning in homes; churches and communities.
The good news is that to pursue and implement this policy at all levels, all it requires is political, institutional and community WILL, and little monetary means.
We, at The chronicles therefore call on all leaders at all levels and in ALL institutions to take the gender equality policy serious, and to pursue and implement it proactively.