Eight private companies and two public institutions were on Wednesday last week 25 September recognised for their demonstrated willingness and commitment to promote gender equality in the workplace.
Recognized companies and institutions are those that voluntarily joined the Gender Equality Seal (GES) Certification Programme, an initiative that aims to promote gender accountability in the private and public sectors.
These companies are ECOBANK Rwanda, I&M Bank, CIMERWA, Marriot Hotel, Serena Hotel, Safari Centre, SORWATHE, VIVO Energy, National Bank of Rwanda and Rwanda Development Board.
The GES Programme was introduced as a tool to help private companies promote gender equality in the workplace. Currently it is implemented by the Private Sector Federation and Gender Monitoring Office under the support of United Nation Development Programme and UN Women.
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Speaking at the colourful event that was attended by high profile delegates from private sector companies, public institutions and development partners, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Honorable Soraya HAKUZIYAREMYE who was the Guest of Honour reiterated Rwanda’s commitment to ensure inclusive development.
‘‘Promoting a gender inclusive business environment is the right thing to do. Gender equality has been and will continue to be at the forefront of Rwanda’s socio-economic transformation as enshrined in the national development frameworks,’’ said the Guest of Honour.
‘‘Promoting gender equality does not only make business sense, but also an important strategy to achieve sustainable development,’’ she added.
Minister Soraya also emphasized that the legal and policy framework driven by political will from the top leadership of our country has enabled Rwanda to record significant progress in promoting gender equality at regional and international levels, adding that gender equality remains the Government’s top priority.
In his remarks, the UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Stephen Rodriques thanked all companies that demonstrated willingness to mainstream gender equality in their businesses, adding that Gender Equality Seal came to accompany companies in this journey.
‘‘The value of the Gender Seal is to give you the means to scrutinize business practices through a gendered lens. This is not a project, but initiative that can change people's lives for better," He noted.
The One UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Fode Ndiaye who also graced the event said that the Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme in the private sector is timely as the Government of Rwanda has committed to building an inclusive development.
‘‘Promoting gender equality in the work place is about giving equal opportunity and participation of both men and women. This is also a great factor for business productivity and profitability for inclusive growth,’’ said the One UN Resident Coordinator.
Being an engine for Rwanda’s desired economic Transformation, the Rwandan Private sector’s role in promoting gender equality is thus critical as Rwanda continuously strives to build an equitable society to ensure sustainable development.
Information on the GES Project
The GES projected was introduced in Rwanda in 2017. Since then, a good number of private companies joined the programme and different steps of the progamme started being implemented in participating companies. These include among others conducting gender equality diagnosis, establishing gender equality committees and developing gender equality actions plans that will guide and help companies to effectively deliver on gender commitments.
The Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme is built on six key pillars namely ensuring work life balance, increasing women’s in decision making positions, elimination of sexual harassment in the work place, increasing women/men’s presence in occupational areas that are traditionally male/female dominated, eliminating gender based pay gaps, ensuring inclusive and non – sexist communication.