Some countries, like Iceland, are known for promoting Gender equality and three nordic neighbors including Norway, Finland, and Sweden have been on top in Global Gender Gap Index, which benchmarks countries according to how close they are to reaching gender equality.
Rwanda, among a few other countries, also features among the top ten in the December 2019 ranking.
However, President Paul Kagame, a champion of Gender equality himself, has told the 75th United Nations General Assembly that, no country has so far achieved true gender equality in the world despite an important milestone that was made two decades and a half ago.
“Twenty-five years ago, the World Conference on Women in Beijing chartered a transformative agenda on gender equality, which continues to guide us,” Kagame said.
“The empowerment of women has made all of us safer and wealthier. But true gender equality has not been achieved in any country,” said Kagame whose leadership has shaped the country’s gender policy.
The gender matters in Rwanda are directly handled by the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion and the Gender monitoring office that works with several partners and other implementing institutions.
The country has put in place policies that promote women in order to bridge the gender gap in decision-making institutions and education.
Kagame believes that development is impossible if one part of the population is ignored. In Rwanda, women were left behind, yet they constitute the biggest number of the population, compared to men.
The results of the 2012 Census show that Rwanda had a total resident population in that year of 10,515,973, of which 5,451,105 were females, representing 52% of the population. There were around 386,000 more females than males.
During the pre-recorded audio-visual speech at the UN General Assembly- September 22, President Kagame also called upon the world to join hands to alleviate the impact of climate change.
He mentioned the Paris Agreement on Climate Change that was signed five years ago and told the world that implementing this framework will slow the pace of global warming.
To this, he added the Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol that was adopted four years ago and said it will play a major role by reducing consumption of hydrofluorocarbons.
“Just over half of the member states have ratified the Kigali Amendment which is now in force, and I call upon the reminder to ratify as soon as possible,” Kagame said.
After mentioning several milestones on components of gender, climate, and development, Kagame mentioned his satisfaction on achievements of multilateral action, adding, however, that there is still a lot to be done.
COVID-19: Not time for doubt and hesitation
President Kagame elaborated on the impact of COVID-19 on the world’s economy but said it is not time to give up despite the pandemic having claimed nearly one million lives leading others into hardships.
“This is no time for doubt or hesitation. We have the tools to meet this test and prevail,” Kagame said.
He commended efforts by the World Health Organisation lead by Dr Tedros Adhanom and said that the Creation of Access to COVID-19 Accelerator(ACT-A) including the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility is of critical importance for Africa.
However, he indicated that equitable access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics are the way to go if the world is to end the pandemic.
Kagame was thankful to the African union resolve to encourage the country not to “spend more but spend better” on the pandemic.
Digital Literacy is the new narrative
In his remarks President Kagame who is the co-chair of UN broadband commission reminded that digital literacy is going to drive world’s economy.
“In the coming decades, prosperity will be closely linked to digital literacy and access to high-speed connectivity,” the president said and recommended to the world the UN’s Secretary General’s roadmap to digital cooperation among other initiatives implemented under the broadband commission.
President Kagame called upon countries to strengthen judicial institutions to make sure that “justice and equality is not a passing phenomenon.”
He also emphasized the need to build public trust in equal dignity and to promote marginalised communities.