Rwanda: Women’s Working Rights, Power Skyrocketed in 2022

Rwanda: Women’s Working Rights, Power Skyrocketed in 2022
Rwanda: Women’s Working Rights, Power Skyrocketed in 2022

Agency Report

2022 has definitely been the year for Rwandan women in all, or at least most of the aspects. The main highlights of the year include improved working conditions, breaking glass ceilings in sports and security, and seating on global and regional decision making tables.

For women in Rwanda, women workers’ rights has gone beyond the right to work, or the right to decent work. A 2022 ministerial order determines circumstantial leave for female employees who give birth to a stillborn baby, or have a miscarriage, and those whose children die after birth.

It also grants leave to employees who give birth to a premature baby. In its article 53, a female employee who gives birth to a stillborn baby from the twentieth week of pregnancy is entitled to a leave of eight weeks from the day the baby dies.

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An employer pays the salary for six weeks to the female employee who gives birth to a stillborn baby, while the organ or agency in charge of maternity leave benefits scheme pays for the last two weeks. A female employee whose child dies after birth is entitled to leave equal to the remaining days of her maternity leave. Her salary continues to be paid the same way it is done for a female employee who is on maternity leave.

Also, a female employee who gives birth to a premature baby is entitled to leave equal to the remaining days to the normal delivery period of nine months. During this period, the employer and the organ or agency in charge of maternity leave benefits scheme pay, each, a half of the salary to the female employee.

The female employee, after taking this leave, is also entitled to a maternity leave of 12 weeks. This way, women who have unfortunate events associated with motherhood are given time to heal, to grieve, or to take care of their babies. Also, less women will have to choose between work and motherhood, hence their careers are less affected.

The Ministerial Order also determines circumstantial leave for fathers whose wives have complications associated with delivery, or when their spouse(s) die leaving a child of less than three months.

As for Leadership, security and finance, in February 2022, the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres appointed Valentine Rugwabiza, the former Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the UN Headquarters in New York, as his new Special Representative to the Central African Republic.

Rugwabiza was also named the head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

In November, Rwandan diplomat, Louise Mushikiwabo, was re-elected the Secretary General of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF). She was first elected Secretary General of IOF in 2018. Her re-election came months after Clementine Mukeka of the Foreign Ministry chaired the successful CHOGM 2022 in Kigali, after being postponed twice.

Rwandan seasoned lawyer, Florida Kabasinga was also elected the Secretary General of the East Africa Law Society (EALS), a regional bar association with over 19,000 members. Also regionally, women dominated Rwanda’s representatives in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA). They include the young Alodie Iradukunda, former Chair of National Youth Council of Rwanda.

Bank of Kigali, a women led bank, is projecting, after tax profits, approximately Rwf60 billion up from Rwf43 billion last year. The bank recorded Rwf33.5 billion in the first nine months of 2022. It is the largest bank in the country and is currently under the leadership of Diane Karusisi.

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In the 2022 World Cup, Rwanda’s national football teams may have never made it to the World Cup, but Salima Mukansanga, a Rwandan international football referee managed to take the country there. She not only broke the glass ceiling for Rwandan women, but for women in the world when she was selected to referee at the men’s World Cup 2022, the first time women are doing so in 92 years of the competition. Mukansanga also became the first woman to take charge of a match at the men’s Africa Cup of Nations, which was first played in 1958, while last year, she officiated at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Earlier this year, Rwandan racing driver Naomi Schiff was added to the presenting team behind Sky Sports Formula One’s new show ‘Any Driven Monday’ – a 60-minute programme streamed on Mondays after race weekends on Sky Sports F1’s YouTube channel.

So, 2022 has without doubt, emphasized Rwanda’s gender parity, and further shone a light on Rwanda, on different global stages by Rwandan women.

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