Young academics pledge to be Generation Equality and promote women’s leadership during Women's Month in Burundi
Date: Tuesday, March 30, 2021
To mark Women's Month, on 26 March 2021 UN Women, in collaboration with the Université Lumière de Bujumbura, brought together in Bujumbura, Burundi 500 students from different universities and other young people to raise awareness on women's leadership and the Generation Equality campaign.
In her opening remarks Imelde Sabushimike, Minister in charge of Human Rights and Gender, called on Burundian youth to take ownership of the issue of gender equality because, she said, "Economic and social development, which is the priority of the government of Burundi, requires everyone’s contribution.’’
UN Women Representative Jennet Kem also emphasized that "Young people play an indispensable role in building a better world where women have their place, act and see their contribution valued."
“Study and dare to aspire to the highest levels of education,'' she advised young female students while calling on all young people to become ambassadors of gender equality and women’s leadership in their sectors and in the country.
In his role as an educator, the Rector of Lumière University, Yves Ndayikunda, drew male students’ attention to their responsibility: "Addressing the issue of gender equality should not be seen as a favor we do to girls and women, but rather as a responsibility of everyone because inclusive development is about bringing together all the forces of the community, especially women who are usually in the majority," he said.
The role of education in promoting women's leadership, the state of women's leadership on the continent, positive masculinity and the Generation Equality campaign in the context of promoting women's leadership were the themes debated during the expert panel discussion, which resulted in a number of recommendations to the young audience. “School is the foundation of women's leadership, nothing will be given to you, young women, if you don’t have a deep understanding of women's rights and gender equality,'' said the coordinator of the Gender Support Unit at the Ministry of National Solidarity, Estella Ndahabonyimana, who also called on men and boys to adopt a positive masculinity in their everyday life. South Africa's Ambassador to Burundi Kgomotso Jolobe urged female students to focus on their education as key to their success: “You cannot be leaders if you cannot make any substantial contribution,'' she said.
At the end of the event, the young academics committed to holding gender discussions within their faculties and to set up a Gender Club at Lumière University. Women's Voice, the University’s women’s organization, committed its support to implementing these initiatives, including a debate between finalists from different universities on how to remain on the ‘Generation Equality path’ throughout their professional careers. Lumière University committed to promote the work of Women's Voice through networking with youth associations and other universities, and organizing sessions on female leadership and positive masculinity. UN Women will support Women's Voice and Lumière University in their efforts to promote women’s leadership among Burundi’s academic community and beyond.