Source: All Africa

A report released by the Gender Monitoring Office, shows that women massively participated in the just concluded local elections.

54.5 percent of the registered voters were women, compared to 45.5 percent men. It also shows that 41 percent of the candidates who ran for elections for district advisory committees were women.

The survey compiled between February and March, 2011 aimed at establishing the involvement of both sexes in the elections. It also details how the population adhered to the civic education ahead of the elections The survey shows that during the elections, more women assumed office more than men.

Over 30 percent were elected to district advisory committees, People with Disabilities, and Youth Councils, in accordance with the constitution.

Women appeared on the voting stations earlier than men in most sectors of the country, which reflects more awareness about government programs.

However, many people with disabilities did not meet the required academic qualifications to run for their respective posts. In some areas like Save sector, Gisagara, some men prohibited their wives from running for the polls.

The head of Gender Monitoring Office, Oda Gasinzigwa, said that women were also reluctant to apply for positions like that of district Mayor. Conversely, posts like, Vice Mayor for Social Affairs were dominated by women.

"Women still need the confidence to go for posts which have for long been occupied by men," she said. "It is also surprising how any gender official or women leaders are always women- it show misconceptions of the true meaning of gender."

She explained that gender mainstreaming processes are stressed by the Rwandan culture where man was always the decision maker. She called on the public for more efforts in the implementation of gender practices.

Her office will among others, focus on the education of the girl child so that they are not limited from taking on leadership roles due to illiteracy.

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