Rwanda’s First Lady calls for more efforts to improve gender equality

Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame speaks at the 4th edition of the Global Gender Summit in the Rwandan capital Kigali on Monday, November 25 2019. COURTESY: TWITTER/First Lady of Rwanda

Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame on Monday urged all stakeholders to be more innovative and relentless in their commitments to invest in, and level the field for everyone, especially women and girls.

The First Lady spoke during the opening of the 4th edition of the Global Gender Summit in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

The summit is co-hosted by the African Development Bank Group and the Government of Rwanda with the support of other multilateral development banks. This edition’s theme is “Unpacking constraints to gender equality”.

“In order to get a real picture, let us move away from our tendency to skim the surface, and look deep beyond the statistics, to the reality of what truly prohibits women from achieving their true potential,” she said.

The First Lady also called for solutions to weaknesses and threats which negatively affect the process of closing gender gaps and achieving the desired demographic gender dividend.

“Policy makers – you must be deliberate in placing women and girls, at the heart of transformative strategies and decisions,” she added. “Let us ensure that women on the continent are afforded the necessary tools, and opportunities within an equitable policy environment, to dismantle the barriers standing in their way towards a more impactful life.”

The First Lady urged the youth to be proactive in taking control of their and calling out inequality wherever it is perceived. She also singled out the slow pace at which men and boys are taught to be reliable partners and held accountable for their own responsibility in ensuring gender equality.

An estimated 2000 delegates, including Heads of State, Development partners, NGOs and academia, are attending the event which aims to share experiences on how to address challenges that hinder gender equality.

One of the issues being discussed on the first day is how to reduce the estimated $42 billion financing gap experienced by African women-owned businesses.

Women make up over 40% of African business owners yet only 2% are able to access finance according to a Mckinsey report.

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