Rwanda demonstrates an unwavering commitment to gender equality through various initiatives. Notable efforts include but not limited to the gender-sensitive policies, social protection programs, parental leave policies, anti-gender-based violence measures, and gender budgeting, Bandebereho program, promising a brighter and more equitable future.

Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion

Our Commitments

How It’s Going

  • 1

    Parental leave

    Our Action: Rwanda has made strides in parental leave policies. There is already maternity leave provided to mothers, and a progressive approach to a fully equal and paid parental leave; maternity leave is now at 14 paid weeks while paternity leave shifted from 4 to 7 days. The progressive approach is informed by the need to couple this with efforts to encourage paternal involvement in the care for children and in unpaid care work at large.
  • In Progress
  • 2

    State-supported, high quality child care

    Our Action: There are initiatives supporting childcare, but a comprehensive state-supported, high-quality childcare system is still under development. Efforts are ongoing to facilitate the economic participation of working parents, caregivers and communities.
  • In Progress
  • 3

    Transforming health sector institutions

    Our Action: There have been endeavors to involve fathers in the prenatal period and childbirth, and a close collaboration with different stakeholders is ongoing to foster comprehensive measures to encourage men's involvement as caregivers. Gender transformative models like Bandebereho and Sugira Muryango are in the pipelines for scale up by the Ministry of gender and family promotion (MIGEPROF).
  • In Progress
  • 4

    Establishing national care policies

    Our Action: Rwanda has shown commitment to recognizing and reducing the gender gap in care work. In addition to ongoing social norms transformational interventions, the national strategy of engaging men and boys provides guidelines to engage men and boys as well as transform negative social and gender norms with the aim to redistribute caregiving responsibilities more equally between men and women.
  • In Progress
  • 5

    Expanding social protection programs

    Our Action: The government has implemented social protection programs, such as the Vision 2020, Umurenge Program (VUP), which provides direct cash transfers to vulnerable households. These programs aim to alleviate poverty and reduce the burden of unpaid care work, particularly on women as well as increase their access to finance.
  • In Progress
  • 6

    Holding male political leaders accountable for their support of care policies

    Our Action: There are efforts to hold leaders accountable for gender mainstreaming in different sectors in both public, private and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and supporting care policies, with a concurrent push for women's equality in political leadership. The Gender Monitoring Office is mandated to hold institutions accountable and the Rwanda Standard Board has availed gender standards to be observed by all stakeholders.
  • In Progress
  • 7

    Collecting regular time use data on unpaid care work

    Our Action: Rwanda acknowledges the importance of collecting data on unpaid care work division between males and females. The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) avails regular both qualitative and quantitative gender data and mainstream gender in the national data including data on unpaid care work for policymaking and budget decisions to advance equality.
  • In Progress
  • 8

    Gender Budgeting Statement and gender sensitive planning and budgeting

    Our Action: The government has incorporated gender budgeting principles into its national planning and budgeting processes. This approach ensures that gender considerations, including the impact of unpaid care work, are taken into account in resource allocation and policy formulation.
  • Done
  • 9

    Integrating engagement strategies in key services

    Our Action: Intentional efforts are underway to integrate strategies involving fathers and male caregivers in programs promoting child and adolescent development, aiming to reach a larger section of the population. The Rwanda Parliament has recommended the scale up of Bandebereho program and the Ministry of Gender and the Rwanda Biomedical Center are supporting the scale up of Bandebereho efforts.
  • In Progress
  • 10

    Implementing comprehensive communications campaigns and school-based approaches

    Our Action: Rwanda has initiatives aimed at promoting young men's involvement in care work, preventing gender-based violence, and teaching the value of care to both genders. However, these initiatives are still evolving to promote equitable, nonviolent relationships comprehensively.
  • In Progress

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When I visited the Bandebereho intervention in Musanze last month, I observed that transformation is possible to challenge gender dynamics at the household level.
Prof. Bayisenge Jeannette | Rwanda Minister of Gender and Family Promotion

Our Story

The Rwandan government has actively championed gender equality through various policy and government initiatives. A recent example was the opening remarks given by President Paul Kagame at the opening ceremony of the Women Deliver conference. President Kagame said:

“We must challenge ourselves to do things differently, and with a sense of urgency.

Commitments, which are not followed by action, cannot fulfill our promise to build a more just, equitable, and prosperous future for the generations that follow us.

We also invest in programs to engage men at the community level, about the importance of sharing child care responsibilities, and preventing domestic violence.”

President Kagame delivers opening remarks at Women Deliver 2023

The Bandebereho program is the key example of the programs the President was referring to. The program, highly regarded by the Rwanda Parliament, showcases Rwanda’s commitment to dismantling gender-based disparities. In collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Family Promotion and the Rwanda Biomedical Center, the program aims to challenge traditional gender norms, empowering women in decision-making, community leadership, and economic self-sufficiency. At a dissemination event for the program, the Minister of Gender and Family promotion, Prof. Bayisenge Jeannette said:

“When I visited the Bandeberehero intervention in Musanze last month, I observed that transformation is possible to challenge gender dynamics at the household level.”

Participants at the Bandebereho dissemination event in Kigali in July 2023

At the core of the government’s commitment is the Gender Policy, which acknowledges the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work on women. This policy advocates for the equitable distribution of household and care responsibilities among family members, fostering a more balanced society.

To reinforce its commitment, the Rwandan government has launched social protection programs, including Vision 2020 and the Umurenge Program (VUP). These programs provide direct cash transfers to vulnerable households, alleviating poverty and mitigating the disproportionate impact of unpaid care work on women, emphasizing that economic security is not gender-exclusive.

In the realm of Early Childhood Development (ECD), Rwanda has introduced a comprehensive policy recognizing the pivotal role of parents and caregivers in providing quality care to young children. By ensuring equitable access to ECD services, the government aims to alleviate the caregiving burden on women and enhance children’s prospects.

Rwanda has also made significant strides in parental leave policies. Paid maternity leave supports working mothers in caring for their newborns, and the recent introduction of 7 days of paternity leave emphasizes the government’s commitment to balanced responsibilities at home. There’s an ongoing proposal to extend paternity leave to a month.

In a strong commitment to gender equality, the Rwandan government has integrated gender budgeting principles into its national planning and budgeting processes with the annual Gender Budget Statement. This approach ensures that considerations, including the impact of unpaid care work, are systematically incorporated into resource allocation and policy formulation, promoting a gender-sensitive governance approach.

Rwanda’s journey towards gender equality is characterized by resilience and determination, transcending borders and inspiring hope globally. The government’s dedication, as demonstrated through the Bandebereho program, Gender Policy, social protection initiatives, Early Childhood Development policies, parental leave policies, and efforts to combat gender-based violence, serves as a beacon of hope. With such unwavering dedication to gender equality, Rwanda’s future holds the promise of a brighter and more equitable world for all its citizens.

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