The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Encourage More Women Entrepreneurs

As the World prepares to celebrate the International Women's Day tomorrow, Rwanda has been in the news for being an ideal place to be born a girl.

The country does not only top the world with the highest number of women parliamentarians - a position it has held since 2003 - but also holds the record of being the first and only country with a majority female legislature.

The UN has cited Rwanda among the countries that have used a quota system to empower women in various areas.

The 2003 Constitution gave women a minimum of 30 percent representation in all decision-making levels. Rwandan women have since been on the rise, increasingly assuming responsibilities that were previously perceived to be a male domain.

At the grassroots level, more women are aware of their rights and are increasingly taking part in making decisions on matters that affect their wellbeing.

They are no longer spectators. The recent Demographic and Health Survey indicates that the fertility rate among Rwandan women fell to 4.6 children in 2010, down from 6.1 in 2005.

They have also stepped up to the plate with regard to decisions on land and other inheritance rights as well as access to education.

Despite the progress, there are still fewer women in business. Parents, teachers and financial institutions should encourage girls and women to take on entrepreneurship at a younger stage.

That way, they will grow up with the desire and urge to learn the skills to do business.

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