On Sunday, the world celebrated Mothers’ Day.
In Rwanda, mothers and women in general are evolving in a conducive gender environment and making important contributions to the country’s development.
But that was not the way things were before far-reaching gender reforms; for instance, a woman needed a husband’s permission to open a bank account and neither was she allowed to inherit property.
In short, Rwanda was the typical patriarchal society where women and girls were meant to be seen and not heard.
However, the country has, for about two decades now, taken concrete measures to reverse the trend and the result has been very impressive.
Available statistics show that, today, females’ access to formal financial services rose sharply from 36 per cent in 2012 to 63 per cent in 2016.
Today, matrimonial regimes are flexible and are on the same footing, while the law on inheritance treats girls and women in the same way as their brothers.
Human capital has probably been the single most important factor in Rwanda’s growth agenda. When the Vision 2020 (a long-term development framework) and the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy were being designed, human development was made one of the key pillars.
But little would have been achieved without reversing traditional discriminatory gender policies and without fully involving both men and women in the development process.
And it was a matter of necessity to create legal framework and promote practices that afforded every Rwandan, regardless of their gender, a chance to thrive.
Thanks to these progressive policies, Rwandan women have proven to be worthy and reliable partners in the country’s reconstruction and development efforts. Women and girls should continue to leverage the opportunities that their country offers to all of its citizens and help build a better, prosperous country that every Rwandan will be proud to call home.