Women’s Day 2024: Kagame commends women’s strength, advocates for gender equality

By Esther Muhozi
On 8 March 2024 at 02:00

In a stirring address on the occasion of International Women’s Day, Rwandan President Paul Kagame celebrated the vital role of women in society, condemning domestic violence and advocating for women’s rights and participation in development.

Highlighting the intrinsic strength of women, President Kagame expressed perplexity and disapproval towards the notion of men inflicting violence on women.

"I do not understand how a man can beat a woman. Where do you learn that from?, Iis not in our culture. Who teaches you that?" he questioned, reinforcing that such behavior is alien to Rwandan values and culture.

Kagame’s message was clear: violence against women is intolerable, and laws in Rwanda are designed to deter such actions. He suggested that men inclined towards violence should confront their own gender, emphasizing a zero-tolerance policy towards domestic abuse.

The president also highlighted the significant role of women in development, reminding his audience of the tragic history Rwanda has overcome.

He pointed out that, despite the larger female population, women had a minimal role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, a dark chapter in the country’s past. This observation served to underscore the generally peaceful and constructive nature of women’s contributions to society.

President Kagame’s speech was not just a condemnation of gender-based violence; it was also a call to action for women to assert their rights.

"Women do not wait for anyone to give you the right. Go get the right, give it to yourself and fight for it," he urged, advocating for self-empowerment and active participation in all spheres of life.

His concluding remarks extended a warm Woman’s Day greeting not only to women but to everyone, recognizing the interconnectedness of all members of society in achieving gender equality.

"Happy Women’s Day to you, the Women, but to us as well, Men," he said, highlighting that the celebration of women’s achievements and the fight against gender inequality benefits society as a whole.

President Kagame’s speech reflects Rwanda’s ongoing efforts to promote gender equality and empower women.

The country is known for its progressive policies in this area, including significant female representation in the government. Kagame’s words underscore the belief that respecting and uplifting women is not only a matter of cultural pride but also a critical component of national development and harmony.

As Rwanda continues to heal and grow from its historical challenges, the emphasis on women’s rights and contributions is a beacon of hope and a model for other nations striving for gender equality and social cohesion.