By Triphomus Muyagu
President Paul Kagame on Saturday received the Gender Champion Award from the African Women Movements for promoting gender equality.
The Gender Champion Award is an award given by a coalition of women's group across the continent.
At the event, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma also received the Gender Champion Award. She thanked the President for being an inspiration. "You're an inspiration to us you grew from different circumstance but you took responsibility to liberate this country, you led men and women with your comrades," she said.
"When the world was failing this country, you were able to get this country out of Genocide, you understood there cannot be freedom for men without freedom for women, Rwanda is leading in the world as far as women empowerment is concerned," Zuma said.
According to the ministry of gender and family promotion, women have had equal rights to own productive assets in Rwanda such as land hence enhancing their productive capacities and improving their welfare.
On land holdings in Rwanda for example, records indicate that 26% of land is owned by women, 18% is owned by men, while 54% is shared by both spouses.
Improved financial infrastructure along with stepped up awareness campaigns to embrace the culture of dealing with financial institutions, have scaled up women access to formal financial services.
With the legal provisions for affirmative action to uplift women representation in decision making positions at all levels, Rwanda has recorded the highest female representation in political decision making areas including; Parliament (64%), Senate(38%), judiciary (43%), Cabinet (40%) among others.
Rwanda has taken special measures to improve social welfare of women and men as a strategy to reduce poverty.
The President at the event thanked the African Women Movements for awarding him the Gender Champion Award. "I have to make sure I continue to work hard to earn this special honor given to me by the women of Africa. To me being a gender champion is the same thing as being a champion of justice and fairness for people in general," he said.
"Women being behind men mean somewhere hidden. But that's not true. It is side by side. That is what it is and should be. When women are able to enjoy their right and use their talent to the full, everyone benefits," he added.
The President also thanked uma noting that she is not just a leader or just a woman. He described her as a good person. "Women should not be called those who are behind those who are successful. Men and women should be side by side," the President said.