women continue to be marginalized in their political, economic and social life.
Yet development experts say that given
the right support, they contribute as much as men.
say Rwanda has proven that women can contribute to development if they are properly
supported and empowered. Last October,
Rwanda swore in a parliament in which 49 percent of the legislators are women.
The global average is just 15 per cent.
Southern African Development Community (SADC) is calling on its members to use
affirmative action measures to increase women's participation in the public and
Kalibata is Rwanda's minister of state in charge of agriculture. She
says women need education and improved legal rights if they are to improve
their economic and political status in society, "[Women will perform as well as
men if they are] given the right education, incentives, access to financing,
property and land. I went to a university where the motto of the hall I was
staying in was "Educate a woman:
a nation educated. Train a woman:
a nation trained." So empowering women is empowering a nation. "
many African countries, most women live in rural areas, and many do not have
the right to own their own land. Kalibata
says they should be given that right and also have access to training in
are a number of laws in the African context that are not necessarily favorable
for women. We hope that this (Rwanda's current parliament) will look at some of
those and [pass] laws and policies that will favor women. Women have been
marginalized on financing because of a lack of access to land, [so we will
address] issues that will make it more favorable for women to access finance,
to have property, to be independent," she says.
says the Rwandan parliament -- like many others in Africa – is drafting laws to
improve the status of women. For example, it's formulating a law to guarantee
equal access to property.
president Barrack Obama has emphasized the importance of women in his own
development. Many times he has noted the importance of women in his family,
including his mother and grandmother who raised him, as well as his wife Michelle
and daughters Malia and Sasha.
Kalibata views the new US president as a gender-aware leade