The day was celebrated under the international theme “Time is now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives,” while locally the theme was ‘Rwandan Women at the forefront of sustainable development: Building the Rwanda We Want.’
The colorful event was attended by government officials, security personnel, religious leaders, activists and development partners who witnessed women’s aptitude after touring the exhibition center which showcased various products such as handmade clothes, breads and cakes, mushrooms growers, liquid soap, electricity, handcrafts to mention but a few.
During the event, many testimonies were given by women who have achieved a lot thanks to the government of Rwanda which has done a lot ensure gender equality and promoting women and girls which enabled them to contribute to the country’s development.
“I used to be a street vendor, then after the government campaign encouraging women street vendors to join cooperatives and settle down for our business, I firstly joined the cooperative and my business succeeded till the day I decided to join the university to continue my studies. Today, I am completing my studies as I am in the last year. I am grateful to the government for having valued us as women”, said Mrs. Nyirakanyana Placidie, a third year student at UNILAK.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Mutabazi Jean Sauveur, the Executive Secretary of Remera Sector reminded that Rwanda is dedicated to equality between men and women and that the country will continue supporting women and girls.
Commenting on the witnessed ability of women through the exhibition, he said that it is evident that women are able and what is needed is to keep supporting them.“Celebrating Women’s Day, is a good opportunity to hail girls and women’s role in the country’s development. A sustainable development can only be achieved if men and women join hands,” he said.
This year’s International Women’s Day focused on sustaining the gains in empowering women and girls through Technical Vocational Education and Training.
The International Women’s Day was established by the United Nations in 1972 and it is celebrated on March 8th each year by Governments, Non-Governments organizations, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations, community and media.
In Rwanda, the International Women’s Day was celebrated since 1975 with focus on identifying the role of Women in socioeconomic development of the country, their achievements, challenges met and measures to overcome them.
The celebration of International Women’s Day in Rwanda is very important due to the fact that, our country has played over the World a crucial role in advancement of gender equality and women empowerment whereby Women are highly represented in different decision making positions.
Some of the hindrances affecting women empowerment are gender based violence especially those against women and girls, teenage pregnancies and a low number of women who have access to finance.