Rwanda - The Gender equality standard launched

Rwanda has taken a bold step towards achieving a gender-equal society with the launch of the first-ever National Gender Standards. Led by the Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), Private Sector Federation (PSF), and Gender Monitoring Office (GMO), with support from the United Nations Development Program and UN Women, the initiative provides guidance and best practices for organizations to adopt and implement gender-sensitive policies and practices in their workplaces.

This significant achievement aims to promote inclusivity and equity in all sectors of society, creating more opportunities for every parent, child, and family to thrive.

Mr. Murenzi Raymond, the Director General of the Rwanda Standards Board, said, “Building a better world requires the participation of everyone, equally. Promoting gender equality is a cornerstone to spurring inclusive sustainable development, and standards being benchmarks for safeguarding the quality and safety of people, products, and services, we are grateful to the contribution and participation of all partners and stakeholders who have made the dream come true today as we launch this first Rwanda Standard on promoting and ensuring Gender Equality accountability”.

The launch of the Gender Equality standards was done when Rwanda celebrated the Gender Equality Seal Certification Awards, recognizing nine companies and public institutions that have excelled in creating gender-equal working environments. The Institutions are:Bank of Rwanda, National Industrial Research and Development Agency, Ministry of Trade and Industry, CIMERWA Pls, INKOMOKO, SINA GERARD/ Enterprise Urwibutso, NCBA Bank, Mata Tea Company and Rwanda Energy Group (REG). Other institutions to be recognized include Legacy Clinics and Kitabi Tea companies.

These organizations have been certified by the Gender Monitoring Office and some will receive a Gold certification from the Gender Monitoring Office of the Government of Rwanda. This prestigious recognition is awarded to institutions that have demonstrated a strong commitment to gender equality through their policies, practices, and culture.

Officials from public, private organizations and development partners attended the event

Ms Rose Rwabuhihi, the Chief Gender Monitor, said, “We are thrilled to recognize institutions for their exceptional commitment to promoting gender equality in the workplace. They have demonstrated that gender equality is not only a moral imperative but also a business imperative. With the standards launched today, we are optimistic about having more inclusive and equitable workplaces.”

Jeanne Mubiligi, the Acting Chairperson of the Private Sector Federation, added, “The private sector is the driver of our economy, and if we are to achieve our social-economic goals as a country, we cannot have a male-dominated private sector. That’s why, at the Private Sector Federation, we are ready to continue working closely with all our partners to make sure that gender promotion in the private sector is a reality.”

The National Gender Standards are available to all institutions, regardless of size or sector, and will be enforced by the Rwanda Standards Board. The standards will complement the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy for financial institutions launched by the National Bank of Rwanda and the Entrepreneurship desk run by the Gender chamber at PSF.

Maxwell Gomera, Head of UNDP in Rwanda, said, “The goal of achieving a gender-equal society is achievable and within grasp. Together we can create a world in which every parent, every child, and every family has an opportunity to flourish. It starts with agreeing on common standards of conduct that we can all aspire to.”

The adoption and implementation of gender standards in workplaces is crucial for creating more inclusive and equitable workplaces, promoting gender equality, and reaping the many benefits that come with a diverse and inclusive workforce. These include improving employee morale, increasing productivity and creativity, and enhancing the institution’s reputation and brand image. By promoting gender equality and diversity, organizations can also better reflect the diversity of their customers and clients, leading to increased business success.

Invited guests

Standards are benchmarks for quality and safety of products and services; and they contribute in spurring inclusive sustainable development. Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) is committed to the noble cause to promote gender equality; and in 2016, RSB signed a Declaration on Gender Responsive Standards and Standards Development with the aim to support achieving Rwanda’s transformational development agenda that is framed and aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially Goal 5 on Gender Equality.

Working with different national and international partners, the commitment to promote gender equality was transformed into spurring gender accountability; and the process resulted into the development and publication of the first ever Gender Equality Rwanda Standard-RS 560:2023!

This standard contains the requirements that are set to assist organizations to embed gender equality in their workplaces and their respective way of working, and consistently promote, implement and account for gender equality, irrespective of the nature of their work, business or services.

This standard comes to complement other instruments and initiatives available on gender equality, but not to replace them. Implementing the standard brings enormous benefits to the organization, as it assists in:

  • Making gender equality decisions based on the analysis and evaluation of data and information to produce desired results.

  • Continually promoting gender equality;

  • Supporting the organizations in fulfilling their gender equality legal obligations

  • Focusing effort on key processes and opportunities for improvement;

  • Establishing unity between the organization purpose and direction; and thus creating conditions in which people are engaged in achieving the organization’s gender equality objectives;

  • Managing its relationships with stakeholders.

It is easy to implement the standard. An organization only needs to align the standard requirements with its purpose and strategic direction; and this is reflected as the organizational goals and aspirations, policies, processes, documented working procedures and the organization finally commits to allocate resources needed to implement and maintain gender equality.