By Edmund Kagire, www.ktpress.com
President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame says that whenever women are involved in the decision making processes and are fully empowered, the society gains more, pointing out that the fight for gender equality should be common sense for all.
President Kagame made the remarks at the opening of the Global Gender Summit 2019 at Kigali Convention Centre (KCC) on Monday, which was attended by more than 1, 000 delegates from across the continent and the globe, including former Malawi President Joyce Banda.
It is the first time the biennial Global Gender Summit was hosted by an African country and other different leaders from across the continent included the President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde; African Development Bank President (AfDB) Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and other high ranking dignitaries.
Also in attendance were Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame, Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.
“The fight for gender equality is common sense,” President Kagame said. “Women are our mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters — whenever women gain, everybody gains, and nobody loses.”
Kagame said that being a man in a position of leadership, at any level, means never having to think about gender, but being a woman leader, means always having to think about how gender impacts one’s work.
“I think it is past time for men to become much more conscious of gender, so that women can afford to enjoy the same freedom, to just get on with business that men take for granted,” he said.
President Kagame alluded to the start of the annual Sixteen Days of Activism campaign, which he urged the audience to make use of.
On her part, Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde highlighted the milestones her country has registered over the years, pointing out that the country has come from a very low base and today 50 per cent of the cabinet is made up of women.
She added that women occupy high ranking positions in government as well, including hers.
“This has been the result of overall transformation my country has been undergoing over the last one year and a half, which has brought women to the fore.
“It has helped to see a new way of having leaders and viewing new leaders as well,” she said.