The Bank of Kigali (BK) has launched a state-of-the-art mother’s room that will improve the welfare of its female staff and advance the company’s ambition to create a gender-sensitive working environment.
The mother’s room was officially opened at the BK Headquarters in Kigali city central business district (CBD), becoming the third of its kind after the one located at the BK branches in Giporoso in Gasabo district and Nyamata in Bugesera district.
The above rooms dedicated as private spaces for the BK female staff are part of the company’s endeavor to implement gender-responsive policies, a move which started in 2018, according to Jacqueline Nkwihoreze, the Chairperson of the BK Gender Equality Committee.
Some of the gender-sensitive policies that BK has embarked on since then, include reviewing its Human Resources (HR) policy to include the gender equality aspects in the workforce (now at 49.5%) with a target to have 50/50%, drawing sexual harassment guidelines in workplaces, avenues to report such cases, increasing maternity leaves from two to four months and creating women’s spaces (Mother’s rooms).
The BK Mother’s room was officially opened on October 4, 2023, by the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Dr. Valentine Uwamariya who was given a guide inside the room which is equipped with a lounge area, a fridge to store breast milk, pumping booths, changing tables and baby cribs.
BK CEO Dr. Diane Karusisi, also called the champion and mother behind the initiative, said it was like a daunting task but now it is an initiative that is giving life to mothers and their children.
“The gaps in the report we conducted showed that we needed to improve the gender policies. We as a bank want to be inclusive and support our talent growth to include more women in our staff,” Karusisi said.
Karusisi stated that the journey started by BK continues and will ensure that it is a must for every branch to have a mother’s room as a way of creating a safe working environment for women who make up the majority of the workforce.
Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Dr. Valentine Uwamariya stated that she was delighted as a mother and minister to see that every mother deserves a place like what BK and other companies have created.
“It is stressful to leave a child at home and be at peace at the workplace. I do thank BK for establishing such a facility which will not only benefit the bank but also the family,” Uwamariya said.
Uwamariya also stressed the need to breastfeed and showed that its benefits can be visible to the parents, the child’s brain growth, health, parental satisfaction, and the development of a country’s human capital.
“Breastfeeding is about the country which needs healthy people and healthy families. What BK has done is a role model to other banks and institutions and I would like to see this room upgraded to an Early Child Development Center (ECD level,” she said.
Minister Uwamariya also used the opportunity to encourage other institutions to do likewise in both private and public sectors so that other institutions.
“I am sure that others can come to learn from you. You are setting an example for others” she stated, noting that the current level of creating mother’s and children’s spaces in workplaces is still low today.