By Bertrand Byishimo | The New Times
Hundreds of Rwandans and friends of Rwanda convened in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, March 12 for the celebration of the International Women’s Day which is marked globally on March 8.
The event was organised to celebrate efforts made by women in every sector of the society including governance, business, science and technology among others.
The colorful event that featured performances by Rwandan artists like Intore Masamba, The Ben and Dallas-based traditional dancers attracted around 250 people while more than 2,500 were following virtually.
It aimed at eradicating the barriers that women face from their young age, according to Ange Kalisa who is a Gender Equality Officer in the Rwandan community living in Texas.
“The challenges that women face begin from their younger ages into adulthood but resilience should become tender, so this is why we are here today to champion our cause and make our voices heard, we are here to take charge and lead because women are also smart and talented,” she said.
The celebration served as a platform to reflect on the contribution of women in socio-economic transformation and discuss further strategies to push urgent action for gender accountability.
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Panel discussions featured in the event rooted for an engaging environment in various issues affecting women which included their opportunities in Science, Technology and business among others.
Anysie Uwimana a healthcare expert noted that the problems that women face both at home and in their communities often lead to dysfunctional families, judgement and criticism, hence calling on her audience to take action.
“We have to speak up against oppression in our own homes; discourage cultures that undermine women and fight against disparities in our home,” she reiterated
On the other hand, Professor Boatama Mosupyoe, the Associate Dean of Resource and Program Management at California State University Sacramento highlighted that Rwanda is good example of women empowerment across the world .
“When I teach my students and ask them which country has the most women in parliament, they try to take me to Europe but I bring them back to Rwanda…”
The Ambassador of Rwanda in the United States of America Mathilde Mukantabana indicated that Rwanda has made greater strides in terms of gender equality and empowerment.
She challenged the audience to take part in breaking social norms that are still one of the major challenges.
“In Rwanda, we have removed all barriers that women used to face, they have been included in different sectors of life, and we only need to change one thing which is social norms. Kids learn on the laps of their parents, the way you treat women is the same way your sons will treat them,” she exemplified.
Different reports indicate that Rwanda considers its citizens living abroad as a relevant and integral constituency of the country and recognizes the vital role they play in its political and socio-economic development.
National statistics show that global remittances to Rwanda totaled to $ 274 million in 2020 as 37 percent was allocated to family and household support, 24 percent to education (tuition) while 16 percent was for construction of houses.