By Elias Hakizimana
Gender equality concept is misunderstood by some Rwandans, which makes them indulge in behaviours that may lure couples in social conflict in their families, Liberal Party (PL)’s Pesident, Donathille Mukabalisa has said, informing that the Party’s next five-year-activities will focus on promoting a genuine gender equality and women’s welfare.
Mukabalisa, who is also the Speaker of Rwandan Parliament, was speaking during the annual conference of the Party’s national council on November 5, 2017 in Kigali.
The conference was focusing on gender and family promotion and gathered members of the Party across the country in which the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF), Esperance Nyirafasafari held a dialogue, with the Party members, on gender issue.
Some women have took gender equality as an opportunity for them to gain control over men, who, according to Rwandan tradition and societal norms, were perceived as heads of families, strong, and capable of arduous tasks.
Women were considered human beings ideal for preparing food for families, caring for their husbands, giving birth and look after domestic affairs.
The notion of gender equality introduced over a decade ago, which consisted in affirmative actions in favour of women, and the idea that women are also capable of activities that men do has been a bone of contention between men and women as each if them sought ‘a source of their pride’, as per accounts from residents.
Sometimes, the conflicts stemming from gender equality misunderstanding has culminated into fatal violence among couples.
“People should understand that gender and family promotion boosts development of family which is foundation of the entire national development. This principle is in our mandate as party to promote women’s rights who were historically marginalized so that they contribute to national sustainable development,” Mukabalisa noted.
Whenever we have the family that understands equality between a wife and a husband, a girl and a boy who are meant to complement each other, we will ensure we have a safe and developed family — PL president, and Speaker Mukabalisa.
Mukabalisa said that under Rwandan Government’s Seven Year Programme, and the action plan of the Party, building a secure and sustainable family has been given special attention.
This principle, she observed, should be cultivated among the party members who were requested to go and explain it to entire Rwandan community.
Minister Esperance Nyirasafari recommends political parties to play a significant role in making gender equality a success among Rwandan community.
She noted that gender equity and equality should not be the matter of social conflict between couples.
“Gender equity is a fundamental principle giving equal rights to women and men as well as girls and boys as human beings. When they are given equal opportunities, it boosts development not only for the family but also for the nation,” Nyirasafari says.
Gender equity and equality policy is misunderstood by some Rwandans. The policy should not be triggering conflicts in families, instead it should be a tool for building a peaceful and prosperous family — Minister Nyirasafari.
She explained that Government has put in place measures to empower women in different sectors.
Rwanda has the highest proportion of women compared to men in its Parliament than any other country worldwide, s about 64% of parliamentarians are women.
“We are at fourth rank in bridging gender gap according to recent gender gap index but in the education sector we still need more efforts compared to other sectors such as good governance, and economy,” she said.
“Gender equality and family promotion must go in line with financial capacity of women by helping them create jobs and other income generating sources as well as learning technical skills to eliminate myths that such works are only a preserve of men,” she noted.
She added such economic empowerment of families will eradicate poverty that is to blame for rampant street children issue, and unwanted pregnancies to some teenagers.
Members speak out
Marie Chantal Umulisa, PL member and the in-charge of gender at national level said that she will enhance efforts in sensitising citizens to better understand the principle of gender equality starting from the grassroots — village — level.
Virginie Akimanizanye, in charge of youth at the Party told The Inspirer that she will mobilise Rwandan youth so that they comprehend that gender equality is not a favor for women only, but the equal right for all to develop a healthy family and a wealthy nation.
“I will tell youth, first, not to view gender equality from favor of one sex perspective, rather the complementarity which does not endorse sexual segregation,” Akimanizanye noted.
The Party targets to double the budget of Rwf66 million spent in the last fiscal year so as to be able to implement different actions including improving welfare of the women and families in general.
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