The First Lady of Rwanda Jeannette Kagame has said that the Women forum at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting(CHOGM) 2022 will be a turning point in solving women’s pressing issues.
The First Lady spoke at the opening session that was held at Kigali Serena Hotel where women, accompanied by men, shared their commitment to help women and girls leave behind challenges that affected them since time immemorial.
In the room of five star Serena Hotel which was full to capacity, women were all confident that time has come for them to stand up and shine in leadership roles, economic empowerment.
On top of these, the First Lady who shares with them the same confidence also believes that the women are now able to do their part to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, especially on women and girls.
And she also said with confidence: “Yes, together we can, must and will end the Violence against women and girls.”
The First Lady is aware of existing challenges that face women, including in leadership, economic empowerment, gender and climate change and violence against women.
To these have now added the crisis brought by Ukraine-Russia war, COVID-19, inflation, disruption of trade, the rising debts among others, which came to worsen gender gap.
“From the disproportionate impact, of climate change on women and men in the global south, to the predominantly female online bullying, sexual exploitation, and violence across the world, it seems that obstacles to equality have multiplied, mutated and evolved,” she said.
The First Lady however, is aware that most of these challenges were even discussed during the 2018 women forum at CHOGM -UK where participants called for greater investments to address them.
She thus said, that it is now imperative to take serious action at a time where there is only a decade to go, to achieve the SDGs.
“The urgency is palpable, particularly on SDG 5,” she said.
The good news as for the First Lady is that young woman, particularly in tech and innovation, may just be that game changer that is needed, provided that the nurturing environment, resources and support is available.
The First Lady spoke about Rwanda, the country that is hosting CHOGM in regard to women challenges, from a dark past greater light.
“It was a country with the pain of fragmented families and wounded, traumatized women,” she said adding that Rwandan liberators saved the country with a gender-sensitive strategy to healing, that centered around the wellness, prosperity, and empowerment of girls, women and entire families.
The First Lady indicates that Rwanda is now a country that considers peace and security, a condition sine qua non, for the attainment of sustainable development.
“The role of women and girls must shift, from victims of conflict, to frontline defenders of lasting peace, within and between nations,” the First Lady said.
“The role played by women in peace building, has been the cornerstone of Rwanda’s development.”