8 March 2018

Today is International Women’s Day, and I think this is something important to talk about.

The world has made great strides in empowering women and girls in recent decades, and Rwanda has played its part. Good politics, legal reform, and policy frameworks have helped speed up this progress. Increasingly, everyone understands that there is an unacceptably high cost to gender inequality.

It is no accident that the renewal of Rwanda was also accompanied by significant upgrades in the status, roles, and responsibilities of women. The same is true in nearly every country where gender equality has been taken seriously.

Women are a cornerstone of prosperity for society as a whole. Even in situations of conflict, they are in a position to make unique contributions to peace and stability.

Even so, all over the world, we see that the facts on the ground still don’t reflect those good intentions. The recent media attention to the disturbing experiences many women continue to live with is a wake-up call for all of us not to take the gains for granted. Indeed, there is still much more to do to ensure that women feel safe and enjoy equal opportunity.

In pursuing this, it is important to act together. Not women on one side, and men on the other. After all, no one loses when women and girls experience equality and empowerment.

I wish you all a very Happy International Women’s Day.