"The key driver behind Rwanda’s progress has been the unwavering political will and commitment to championing gender equality and empowering women," said Silas Ngayaboshya, director general of Gender Promotion and Women Empowerment at the Rwandan Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion.
Highlighting the nation’s efforts in promoting gender equality, Ngayaboshya told Xinhua in a recent interview that the country’s constitution specifically mandates that at least 30 percent of seats in various government institutions be occupied by women, which makes it one of the countries in the world with the highest representation of women in state agencies.
"To ensure the effective implementation of these provisions, Rwanda has enacted laws aligned with the constitution’s guidelines and established grassroots structures that facilitate women’s participation in national development," he said.
Several institutions in Rwanda have been created to support gender equality efforts, including the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, the National Women’s Council, the Gender Monitoring Office and the Rwanda Women Parliamentary Forum. Gender considerations have also been integrated into various policies initiated by different ministries, ensuring that sectors like agriculture, farming and education address gender-specific needs and challenges.
Nevertheless, Rwanda faces challenges in addressing deeply entrenched negative social norms related to gender, which require substantial efforts and investments for transformative change, Ngayaboshya said.
"Women’s economic empowerment remains a priority, as it can lead to greater gender equality and overall socioeconomic development," he said.
He stated that gender-based violence (GBV) remains a significant obstacle, and Rwanda has taken a comprehensive approach to address this issue through prevention and response measures.
"Community-based structures and forums are utilized to build a safe and resilient family environment. The country has also established Isange One Stop Centers in hospitals, offering holistic support to GBV survivors," Ngayaboshya said.
According to him, despite the progress made, there is still much to do in creating a more inclusive society regarding gender equality in Rwanda.
He explained that the continuous focus and dedication displayed by Rwanda are essential to sustain and build upon the achievements already made, making gender equality and women’s empowerment central to the nation’s progress and development.
"Rwanda’s awareness-raising efforts have yielded positive results, as both men and women recognize that gender equality benefits the entire society. While proud of the current position, Rwanda remains committed to further accelerating progress and fostering a society that accommodates everyone without perpetuating inequalities," Ngayaboshya said.