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Gender Gap Widening In Rwanda’s Largest Employment Sector

by Emmy Nuwamanya
12:47 pm

Over 60 participants including heads of different clusters under the Private Sector Federation , representatives of public institutions and CEOs of companies certified for promotion of gender equality and accountability convened in Kigali, December 14, 2022 to discuss accelerating gender equality in the workplace.

The meeting was organized by the Gender Monitoring Office (GMO) in collaboration with the Private Sector Federation, with support of the UNDP.

The World Economic Forum 2022 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Rwanda the first in closing gender gap in Africa and number six world-wide.

This is in line with improving gender balance, but also creating equal development opportunities for both men and women.  However, under the same ranking the position of women in the economic/financial sector  did not score well, with 0,747%.

Minister Jeannette Bayisenge

While presiding over this function, the Minister of Gender and family promotion Prof. Jeannette Bayisenge said there is still more room for improvement to meet the UNDP’s Gender Equity Seal, which calls for companies to complete certification requirements through gender equality in the workplace.

“Government looks forward to seeing the gender sealing system spreading to all institutions, whether at small or big scale level, to benefit the entire Rwandan society,” said Minister Bayisenge.Some of the already participating private companies and public institutions shared their journey in promoting women representation among their Staff, a practice they call upon others to emulate.

Francine Munyaneza, the CEO and founder of MUNYAX ECO, a gender sensitive company specialized in solar energy said that 60% of the company staff are women.

“We aim higher than that, as we also try to address any obstacles to women representation including sexual harassment and maternity leave compensation which is not yet adequate,” remarked Munyaneza.

Various monitoring findings by GMO and other stakeholders indicate that the private sector still lags behind in gender equality, while the sector employs almost 90% of the total labor force in the country, the number of women is still low especially in technical fields.

Women only own 38% of micro business, 32% of small businesses, 21% of medium enterprises and only 15% of large businesses. There are still gaps in access to finance.

Among other strategies, the UNDP Deputy Country representative Redkar Palepu urged CEOs of different companies always to consider feedbacks from employees, besides respecting the gender equality aspect in the workplace.

The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda ( NISR) Labour Force Survey (2022) shows that 61.8% of the male working population have a source of income while women are at 48%.

A gender mainstreaming strategy for the private sector (2020-2024) has been developed to guide gender equality interventions in the private sector.

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