HeForShe Launches in Rwanda, Includes Digital Inclusion Among Aims

Image source: http://az668017.vo.msecnd.net/sitestorage/dist/content/uploads/2014/08/HeForShe_ActionKit_English.pdf

Image source: http://az668017.vo.msecnd.net/sitestorage/dist/content/uploads/2014/08/HeForShe_ActionKit_English.pdf

UN Women’s global movement “HeForShe” has been taken up by Rwanda. Its goals are for men and women to work together towards gender equality and the campaign seeks commitments from governments, the private sector, and academia. Rwanda is one of ten countries worldwide to make this pledge.

The Ministry of Gender and Family promotion recently set forth its official support for this campaign. Their concept note discusses, for example, their intentions to raise awareness on the issue, bolster support, and recruit male advocates for gender equality.

This is in addition to the country’s significant recent improvements in levels of gender equality. The World Economic Forum, in 2014, considered Rwanda top among African countries in reducing the gender gap, and seventh of the 142 countries analyzed in the study.

A further example of Rwanda’s preeminence in gender equality is that, in 2008, it was “the first and only country in the world with a majority female representation in the Parliament,” with women taking 56% of seats. This further improved in 2013, when women occupied 64% of parliamentary positions.

According to Ignatienne Nyiraukundo, chairperson of the Women Parliamentary Forum, the country’s strategy has always been so successful because they included all members of the population in challenging the inequality women faced. “Although the movement was originally viewed as a struggle only meant for women, men have also contributed by pledging their support in fighting against the inequalities and discrimination faced by women,” she says.

As part of the HeForShe movement, Rwanda will join its “Impact 10x10x10” advocacy programme. In this initiative, 10 heads of state, 10 CEOs, and 10 varsity heads will become “impact champions” in charge of spreading this important message. President Kagame, of Rwanda, is one of the heads of state involved.

Rwanda plans to focus on key areas in its participation in HeForShe: digital inclusion for women, improving women’s enrolment in technical and vocational education programmes (to increase employment), and wiping out gender-based violence. Oda Gasinzigwa, Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, mentions that this is, in part, in response to the gender gap in IT employment in the country.

Despite the fact that the country has made significant progress in empowering women, they remain committed to further improving the situation through these three areas in compliance with the HeForShe campaign’s principles.

For more information on HeForShe, visit the official website.

Source: Sharon Kantengwa, The New Times, Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media