Rwanda has made a firm commitment to gender empowerment in the political and social realms, a goal which is most clearly laid out in the country’s development plan— vision 2020.
In order to attain the goals the government set up priority policies for girls including education for all, achieving gender parity in higher education, and practicing a policy of affirmative action to promote women’s educational and social advancement.
The country has so far seen gains toward gender empowerment, visibly with the achievement of recent legislative elections in September 2013, where 64 percent of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies were taken by women up from 56 percent in the previous 2008 polls.
This has been supported by strong institutional measures, including policy and budgetary commitments in connection to the Economic Development Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) process.
Such institutions seek to mainstream gender equality within government policy-making.
These achievements are particularly significant given Rwanda’s tragic past, as its infrastructure for social service delivery was virtually destroyed during the 1994 genocide.
Incidentally, on 19th October 2013, Rwanda celebrated the International Day of the Girl Child for the second time. The first time was on October 11, 2012.
On December 19th 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, which is celebrated annually.
The day focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
For this year’s observance of the International Day of the Girl Child, Rwanda has chosen the theme, -“I am a Girl with vision, I value my education, my right, my future’’.
According to the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion Oda Gasinzirwa,
girls have shown ability and possibility to perform as well as or even better than boys in science and technical schools and should benefit from this opportunity that the government has given them.
She urged young girls to have self-confidence because there are practical models that show that they are as able as boys.
“Girls got empowered when technical schools were established and it is clear that girls are able and are benefiting from them,” said the Minister.
The Minister said this, while referring to Sandrine Umuhoza who testified how she joined Kicukiro technical school because of her passion of technology and is now enjoying its fruits.
“With some friends we set up a carpentry business and we are hiring others because we are getting more customers; we are proud that our business in developing fast,” she said.
While speaking at the ceremony, Laurence Umuhoza, the Vice President of children’s forums at the National Level urged young girls to be confident. ’’Try and fail but never fail to try’’, said Umuhoza.
Albert Nsengiyuma, the State Minister in charge of TVET however, observed that while a lot has been achieved, the road is still long because the number of girls in technical schools is still low.
He further said more programs are being designed in order to make sure that after completion of their studies, they are benefiting from these skills.
“Plans are under way to establish specific programs to enable these girls to start their own business at the completion of their studies. These plans include working with financial institutions to ease access to loans,” he said.