International Women’s Day

Burundi commits to advancing women’s leadership in high-level commemoration of International Women’s Day

Date: Thursday, March 11, 2021

Burundi commits to advancing women’s leadership in high-level commemoration of International Women’s Day
From the President and other dignitaries to ordinary Burundians, thousands of people attended the commemoration of International Women’s Day in Gitega, Burundi, on 8 March 2021. Photo: Odette Kwizera/UN Women Burundi

On 8 March, Burundi commemorated International Women’s Day under the theme of Women's leadership as a source of inclusive development with a well-attended ceremony in Gitega. Presiding the ceremony alongside his wife, H.E. Angeline Ndayishimiye, President of the Republic of Burundi General Evariste Ndayishimiye called on men not to hesitate to entrust women with the management of family assets because “women are naturally good managers”.

The government of Burundi, the President said, understands that supporting women's entrepreneurial initiatives leads to socio-economic development, as proven by the recent establishment of the Women's Investment and Development Bank. The President urged women from all provinces of the country to submit projects to the Bank to benefit from its financial support.

The President also called on Burundian men to value and respect women: “May this day serve to put an end to the physical or verbal violence to which some women are subjected in their household," he admonished. 

President of the National Women’s Forum
From left to right, on the first row: President of the National Women’s Forum Hon. Janvière Ndirahisha, Minister in charge of human rights and gender issues H.E. Imelde Sabushimike, President of Burundi General Evariste Ndayishimiye and his wife Angeline Ndayishimiye, and UN Resident Coordinator a. i. in Burundi Nicole Kouassi gather in Gitega on 8 March 2021 to commemorate International Women’s Day. Photo: Odette Kwizera/UN Women Burundi

On behalf of the United Nations system in Burundi, Nicole Kouassi, UN Resident Coordinator, praised the government's efforts to promote women's leadership, emphasising that it is a shared responsibility of all stakeholders to tackle the multiple challenges that hinder women's leadership in Burundi. Kouassi stated that the 12 areas of the Beijing Platform for Action are taken into account in the mid-term review of the Cooperation Framework between the UN and the government, with a focus on: strengthening legal and regulatory frameworks; preventing and eliminating all forms of violence against women and protecting victims from violence against women in public life; changing negative social gender norms that impact on women's leadership and participation in public life; and assisting women leaders and increasing the availability of funding to support women's effective participation in public life and leave no one behind.

While welcoming the government’s efforts to advance women's leadership, the President of the National Women's Forum, Hon. Janvière Ndirahisha called for the establishment of gender quotas to increase women's political representation at all levels.

The Minister in charge of human rights and gender issues, H.E. Imelde Sabushimike, announced that several activities would be carried out during the month dedicated to women, including broadcasts aimed at socialising political and legal reforms to promote women's rights, awareness-raising campaigns on women’s empowerment, capacity-building for women leaders on women's leadership, as well as Burundi's participation in CSW65.

The commemoration event, which was attended by thousands of ordinary Burundians alongside dignitaries such as former President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya and his wife, former First Ladies Denise Nkurunziza and Laurence Ndadaye, and representatives from the government, parliament, armed forces, diplomatic and UN officials, ended with an award ceremony to celebrate women and girls who have made history in Burundi in advancing women's leadership, gender equality, and women's empowerment.