RWANDA: Women in Parliament Summit Kicks Off Today

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Delegates from around the world are in Kigali for the Women in Parliament (WIP) 2014 Summer Summit due to open today.

The three-day conference is expected to draw participants from 45 countries across the world.

The delegates are expected to discuss Rwanda's success in female political empowerment and the need for more women in politics worldwide.

The theme of the summit is 'The Spirit of Women in Parliaments: Advancing Society.'

During the summit, the MDG Advocacy Group, co-chaired by President Paul Kagame and Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, will join participants for a joint session on the post-2015 Development Agenda.

Participants will also discuss topics such as gender balance in politics and its role in societal change and the impact of constitutions and legislation in establishing gender equality and women empowerment.

Speaker Donatille Mukabalisa said the rapid advance in gender equality in Rwanda was down to necessity.

"About 70 per cent of Genocide survivors were women. They had no alternative but to take the lead in healing a broken and fractured society. Rwanda needed everyone to come together to ensure an inclusive reconstruction process and guarantee that genocide would never happen again," Mukabalisa is quoted in a statement issued ahead of today's meeting.

The 2003 constitution requires that all decision making organs must have at least 30 per cent female representation.

Mukabalisa says this threshold has been easily exceeded in every election since then.

In September last year, national elections for the Chamber of Deputies saw women take 64 per cent of seats, the highest level of female representation in Parliament in the world.

"We are happy to share these success stories by hosting the WIP Summer Summit," the Speaker said.

The WIP Summer Summit 2014 will give participants first hand insights into the Rwandan society, according to a concept paper.

Participants will also meet with ministers, parliamentarians, community and business leaders as well as academics.

The Women in Parliaments Global Forum is an independent, non-partisan foundation established with the purpose of advancing society by building a network of women in Parliaments. It is the only global forum for all female parliamentarians.

During the last year's WIP Summit, President Kagame received the WIP Leadership Award in Closing the Gender Gap.