International Women’s Day

Celebrating The National Women's Month in Rwanda

Date: Wednesday, April 8, 2020

This year’s International Women’s Day celebrations marked the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Under the international theme of ‘‘I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights’ , the International Women’s Day celebrations brought together change makers, men and women of all age groups, to advocate for, and tackle the unfinished business of empowering women and girls by demanding for: 

  • Equal pay
  • Equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work
  • An end to sexual harassment and all forms of violence against women and girls
  • Health-care services that respond to their needs
  • Equal participation in political life and decision-making in all areas of life
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International Women’s Day celebrations at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda.  Photo: UN Women/Tumaini Ochieng

In Rwanda, the National Celebrations were held at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali on 8th March under the themeTransformational change: Women at the Forefront”Women and men from across Rwanda congregated to take stock of gender equality achievements, and raise awareness on the remaining gaps to be addressed. The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, the Mayor of City of Kigali, the UN Resident Coordinator, the UN Women Country Representative and key partners working on gender equality attended the event.

Prior to the National Celebrations, the European Union Delegation to Rwanda, in collaboration with the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda and UN Women, organized a roundtable discussion on the production and use of gender statistics on 4th March 2020. The roundtable discussions convened gender activists, policy makers, development partners, experts and media.

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Delegates pose for a group photo during the roundtable discussion on production and use of Gender Statistics in Rwanda.  Photo: UN Women/Tumaini Ochieng

The event featured different presentations and interventions including; Gender equality and women empowerment in the Rwandan Context by the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, the importance of Gender in the Development Discourse by UN Women Rwanda, as well as Gender disaggregated statistics, indicators, and analysis for policy advice by Dr Anne Laure Humbert, Director of the Centre for Diversity, Policy Research and Practice at Oxford Brooks University.
In his remarks, the Head of EU Delegation to Rwanda, Ambassador Nicola Bellomo said, "The ultimate objective of the workshop is for all of us to reflect on how we could contribute to refining Gender Statistics in Rwanda with the target of sustaining the gains, going further and leaving no one behind on this development journey we have all committed to". He added that, "Because we are concerned about gender; we are also concerned to have a sound basis of evidence to guide our policies and measure our results on gender".

On 9th March, UN Women joined the Rwanda Stock Exchange and the International Finance Corporation in hosting the “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality event” along with 90 other stock exchanges around the world to draw attention to the critical role that business and markets can play and must play in tackling gender inequalities.

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Delegates at the ‘Ring the Bell’ event in Rwanda.  Photo: UN Women/Tumaini Ochieng

Pierre Celestin Rwabukumba, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Stock Exchange noted that Rwandan women are doing well on the stock market where, out of the four private companies on the Rwandan stock market, two are led by women. He however lamented the barriers that hinder women in general business life, work and income."It is evident that in commercial activities and business in the world economy, women still face a big challenge. In this event we are sensitizing people about among other things, the importance of women in private sector leadership positions, so that they will pay attention to it," he said.

In her remarks at the event, Fatou Lo, the UN Women Representative in Rwanda called for bold, ambitious, inclusive and urgent action for advancing gender equality.

The celebrations culminated in a panel discussion with University students from the Africa Leadership University (ALU), University of Kigali, Kepler University and Akilah Institute who debated on the economic benefits of a gender equal world and the role of entrepreneurship in achieving this.

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Students from various Universities pose for a group photo after the panel discussion on the economic benefits of gender equality.  Photo: UN Women/Tumaini Ochieng