In partnership with The HIVOS Foundation, as part of a project entitled “State Accountability for Corporate Violations”, Haguruka organized its first quarterly meeting on 31st October 2017 at Highland suites hotel in Kigali. The meeting was attended by delegates from different institutions including horticulture companies, legal aid providers, CSOs, government labor inspectors and the Rwanda Worker’s Trade Union Confederation (CESTRAR).
The meeting was officiated by Haguruka’s National Executive Secretary Ms. Umurerwa Ninette, who started off by thanking the participants for partaking in this meeting and introducing the theme of this meeting as “Tracking Progress against elimination issues faced by women at their respective workplaces”. The Executive Secretary highlighted that the government of Rwanda has established multiple initiatives and mechanisms to protect women’s right. However, she pointed out that there are still many cases of the violation of those rights, especially in workplaces, whereby national labor laws and other laws protecting women are neither respected nor implemented.
The round table discussion aimed to track the progress in the implementation of these laws so far. The participants were given ample time to discuss issues that women still face at their places of work that lead to discrimination. The participants agreed that women play a vital role in the economic development of the country and their contribution is equal to their male counterparts. They acknowledged there are still multiple problems that women face today related to unequal treatment in their workplace, where they are often considered inferior to their male co-workers due to culture and gender bias. It was noted that many challenges are based on sexual harassment, lack of security at work, family responsibilities, unequal pay, lack of maternity leave and other kind of discrimination.
Group discussion between participants
Participants said that policies and legal mechanisms alone cannot solve the problems faced by women in the work place. The overall attitude of people needs to change, and some of those challenges stem from a lack of knowledge of laws, or lack of proper application, interpretation and respect for laws. The issues and problems that women face in their workplaces could be put to an end if employees and employers respect the rights of each other.
It was recommended that all levels, sectors and institutions should strive to raise awareness of legal matters relevant to employees and employers.