HeForShe IMPACT Champion
Bridge the gender digital divide and attain parity in ICT access, usage and innovation by 2020.
Rwanda’s vision is to transform the country into a knowledge-based middle income economy by 2020. A strong ICT sector is key to meeting this milestone, but today women and men do not benefit from or contribute to ICT equally; women represent approximately 34% of higher education ICT graduates, 25% of ICT industry certification holders and 20% of employees in the ICT sector. Further, only 35% of women own mobile phones compared to 49% of men, while only 5.2% of members of Female-Headed Households access internet compared to 7.2% members of Male-Headed Households, indicating a significant divide. To bridge the gender digital divide, Rwanda will develop and implement a Strategy on Gender Equality mainstreaming in the area of ICT (GEM TECH). The government will invest heavily in programs to increase girls’ rates of enrollment in ICT education such as: WEMTECH (Women Empowerment in Technology), the flagship program of the Smart Rwanda Master plan (2015-2020), and the Girls in ICT program, among others. Rwanda will also promote the use of ICT solutions to advance women’s economic empowerment in two key areas: women’s financial literacy for entrepreneurship, and ICT for export (IT Business Processes Outsourcing).
Triple girls’ enrollment in Technical & Vocational Training to advance women’s employment opportunities.
Youth unemployment is a serious issue in Rwanda, with a persistent mismatch between employers’ needs and employees’ skills. The Rwandan government has launched an ambitious demand-driven Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) program that aims to close the skills gap and increase youth employment. So far, early results are promising, but young men and women have not taken up this program in equal numbers. On average, only 17.5% of girls enrolle in these programs (versus 40% of boys). To close the gap in TVET enrollment, and the gender gap in youth unemployment, Rwanda will launch a national mentorship and career guidance program to encourage girls to take up science and technology courses within the TVET program, aiming to enroll at least 50% of eligible women and girls by 2020. To implement this strategy, Rwanda will work closely with TVET institutions, career guidance centers, and communities, to ensure that: perception of TVET by girls and parents / guardians improves, female enrolment—especially for non-traditional TVET courses—increases, and the quality of training deliver substantively improves. This will be followed by the introduction of apprenticeship (A dual system-combining in-school training and industrial attachments) with a view to meeting the labor market needs in line with the National Employment Program (NEP).
Eradicate Gender-Based Violence in all its forms.
Gender-Based Violence is a universal concern for developed and developing countries. While the Rwandan government continues to fight GBV with impressive results, significant incidence of Gender-Based Violence remains an issue. In the period ending December 2014, Rwanda experienced 1,433 cases of defilement in 12 months (Rwanda National Police, 2014). GBV is a serious public health problem and a violation of fundamental human rights. It reinforces inequalities between men and women and compromises the health, dignity, autonomy and security of its survivors. For that matter, Rwanda has taken a zero tolerance stance in the fight against GBV and is committed to do so till the problem is eradicated. To achieve this, the government has instituted strict preventive and punitive measures alongside reintegration programs to support victims. Isange One Stop Centers have been established across the country, to provide holistic services including: Medical, legal and psychosocial support to rehabilitate and reintegrate GBV victims.2 One Stop Centers work closely with police, health centers, and the leadership of administrative Sectors, Cells and Villages within the vicinity to help victims of GBV. In order to effectively enforce the zero tolerance policy, Rwanda plans to improve logistics, infrastructure and capacity of service providers. To effect this commitment, the government will take an innovative step of including concrete targets to eradicate GBV in the performance contracts of relevant institutions including those in charge of security, justice, health, gender and governance.