For the last 25 years, Rwanda has been at the forefront of the fight for gender equality.
President Kagame championed many of the changes that have become the new normal in the country.
From changing inheritance laws to enable girls to inherit their parent’s assets in the same way as their brothers, to making gender parity in all sectors of governance a rule.
The changes have been far-reaching, comprehensive and structural; impacting both law and customs.
This year G7 summit has among its main topics the issue of gender equality/women rights, and President Paul Kagame is among three African leaders scheduled to take part in the G7 Summit in France over the weekend as observers.
President Kagame’s invitation comes in light of his role as former chairman of the African Union, but also in his role as a leading champion of women’s rights.
State Minister in Charge of East African Community at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Olivier Nduhungirehe, said that President Kagame will discuss women entrepreneurship and digital transformation.
This will be on Sunday August 25, during the meeting between G7 and African partners.
On Monday, there will be an enlarged format with India, Chile and Australia, where the topic (to be addressed by all) will be “Oceans, biodiversity and climate change”.
Today in #Biarritz, Sherpas of @G7 and invited African countries (Burkina Faso, Egypt, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa) finalized the Biarritz Declaration and its annexes (women entrepreneurship, digital transformation & transparency in public procurement) ahead of the Summit. pic.twitter.com/r9mVr54wg1
— Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe (@onduhungirehe) August 23, 2019
The G7 Summit will also see actress Emma Watson and Nobel laureate Nadia Murad join other women’s rights activists on Sunday to urge powerful world leaders at the G7 summit in France to usher in laws empowering women and end those that harm them.
The nearly 40-strong Gender Equality Advisory Council will press their case to the Group of Seven member countries, “The Council expresses great concern about the persistent, and even growing, threats and backlash against girls’ and women’s rights in many countries,” it said in recommendations published this week ahead of the summit.
The council, formed in 2018 under then-G7 leader Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and renewed by French president Emanuel Macron, also condemned “the considerable responsibility of some political leaders in this step backwards.”
The council’s recommendations call on G7 countries to make political and economic advances for women within their own countries but also a centerpiece of foreign policy, encouraging other countries to follow suit.
“We have the evidence that a gender equal world is healthier, wealthier, more productive and more peaceful,” Katja Iversen, the president and CEO of Women Deliver told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Thursday.
Iverson pointed to past successes such as Rwanda’s 2003 decision to implement a 30% quota on female elected officials as a progressive move with lasting effect. Today Rwanda’s parliament is over 60% female and its government is 50% female.
In addition to Rwanda, Egypt, South Africa, Senegal, Burkina Faso and the African Union Commission (AUC) were also invited.
The summit’s events schedule also includes an informal dinner of G7 leaders to discuss foreign policy and security affairs on Saturday evening, followed by a session on the global economy Sunday morning that was added at the last-minute request of the United States.
The G7 countries: U.S, Canada, U.K, France, Italy, Germany and Japan comprise more than 10% of the world’s population and over 40% of its wealth equating to $317 trillion.