6 Promote gender equality and empower women

Where we are

One important route for women into paid livelihood work is to start a small enterprise

Looking beyond 2015 the Government’s 2020 Target is for women to make up 40 per cent of all those in decision making positions.

 Rwanda has made great strides in promoting gender equality driven by a strong commitment by the Government. Rwanda was equal second in the world on the 2009 Social Watch Gender Equity Index, with only Sweden having a higher score.  Gender equality is enshrined in the constitution and Rwanda was the first country in the world to have more than 50 per cent female members of parliament. However, women are generally underrepresented in political institutions (GMO 2011) and traditional patriarchal attitudes continue to dominate. Rates of domestic violence are, for example, very high and there continues to be a high level of tolerance by both men and women of domestic violence (NISR et al 2011).

There is a Ministry for Gender and Family Promotion, a gender monitoring office, a commitment to gender based budgeting, and in recent years there has been a strong emphasis on fighting gender based violence. Women have the same rights to inherit land as men.  Girls are as likely to attend school as boys and there is a Girls Education policy and implementation plan. There remains a gender gap in public sector higher education, especially in science and engineering, but women are taking advantage of the opportunities to study in the private higher education institutions. However, the majority of women, especially poor women in rural areas have yet to benefit. The gap between men and women employed in non-farm work is widening and the Indicator of 50 per cent of those in paid non-agricultural employment being women by 2015 is unlikely to be met.

As part of the priorities for Support to Accelerate Progress to Achieve MDG 3 key interventions must be planned and implemented specifically on programmes for women’s economic empowerment and for support women to start HEs and move into non-farm jobs; programmes to train teachers and lectures so that the curriculum in schools, vocational and technical and higher education is engendered; programmes to tackle gender-based violence and negative cultural attitudes to women. In order to ensure sustainability, men should be involved in all the process, making them a responsible part in reaching a gender equal society in Rwanda. Involving men in training and skill building for gender equality so they understand the benefits to all of the empowerment of women.

Changes in Employment: Independent Non Farm Worker

Bar Chart
Targets for MDG3
  1. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
    • Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
    • Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
    • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament