Rwanda To Bridge Gender Gap In Private Companies

By Eddie Nsabimana

It will take concerted efforts between the government and the Private sector to bridge gender gaps existing in private companies so as to promote a gender-inclusive business environment, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Soraya Hakuziyaremye, has said.

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The Minister made the remarks last week at an event recognizing private sector companies for promoting gender equality at workplaces.

Hakuziyaremye said though some private companies have taken bold steps in embracing gender equality through the gender equality seal certification initiative, a lot of gaps on women representation in the private sector continue to persist and she called on the private sector to play a major role in changing this trend.

“Promoting gender equality not only makes business sense but also an important strategy to achieve sustainable development. We need to see more women on corporate boards, on executive committees and other roles where they have been traditionally left out. I believe that this can be made possible if corporates are intentional about it,” she said.

Statistics from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) Labor force survey, 2018, indicate that women account for close to 45 per cent of the labour force in Rwanda. However, looking at the jobs they are doing, most of them are employed as farm labourers, domestic cleaners and helpers, stall and market salespersons and shopkeepers.

The survey further highlights a big gap existing between female and male owners of enterprises whereby 33 per cent females own micro-enterprises, 29 per cent females own small enterprises while only 15 per cent females own medium enterprises.

The distribution of males and females in the recent establishments Census (NISR, 2018) also indicates a significant percentage of females in some economic activities such as financial and insurance activities where they stood at 43 per cent.

However, there is low participation in other economic activities such as mining and quarrying where only 14 per cent are females. They constitute 19 per cent in construction while 20 per cent work in electricity, gas steam and air-condition sectors.

“It will take concerted efforts to bridge this gap. While the private sector is encouraged to take steps towards bridging the gap through being intentional in bringing females on board in male-dominated economic activities, we should also take responsibility in ensuring that girls are equipped with the required skills to work in the above fields,” the minister added.

To bridge these gaps, the Gender Monitoring Office and the Private Sector Federation are jointly implementing the project dubbed; “Promoting gender accountability in the Private Sector in Rwanda’, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women to promote gender equality in the private sector through the Gender Equality Seal (GES) Certification programme which offers companies a solid system for promoting gender equality in the workplaces.

While women now occupy managerial positions by 29.5 per cent in the employment sector in Rwanda, the Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, Solina Nyirahabimana, said the private sector should change their mindset, trust the capacity of women and give them equal chance in all sectors.

“The time is now to change their mindset. What we do is to remind the private sector that we are in the same country that has the same vision and same ambition and that champions gender equality.

“Our country has taken a strategic orientation of adopting a private sector-led economy but the private sector then has to walk the path leaving no one behind towards sustainable development,” she said.

Anny Batamuriza, is the CEO of New Dawn Associates New Dawn Associates, a tourism firm that employs 90 per cent females.

“In this sector, a small number of females are mostly doing office jobs yet we have the same skills as males. Our company is training a big number of female guides so they can involve more girls in the same services because they are also capable of doing what men do,” she said.

Source: New Times

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