Source: The New Times

Different key players in the private sector have vowed to address the challenge of sexual harassment as part of their efforts to promote gender equality and accountability in their work places.

The commitment was made during a peer learning workshop that brought together different private companies like telecommunication companies, factories, hotels and banks among others; with the Gender Monitoring Office on Thursday September 30.

Addressing the different private companies at the workshop Clement Kirenga, Coordinator Inclusive Governance Program at UNDP said: “Sexual harassment is one of the key factors that leads to gender inequality in workplaces, and it is a recurring problem in the private sector.”

“Every company needs to put clear policies and guidelines on sexual harassment, so we can avoid losing our female workers who are being harassed, which creates a huge gender gap,” he added.

Noel Minani, Wolfram Mining and Processing Ltd, said that the mining industry is still a male dominated sector and some women do encounter such challenges, but they are invested in ending the problem.

“Through a committee we are able to put efforts in curbing sexual harassment, where we encourage our female workers to come forward with any complaints and make sure they feel safe in an environment that is male dominated,” he said. “We employ 145 women among 945 workers which makes only 23 per cent of women, and our target is employing at least 300, by putting more efforts, in solving such challenges we will be able to reach our target.” 

According to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISRR) labor force survey, the mining and quarrying industry consists of only 9 per cent of women.

Pelagie Uwanyirigira, Social affairs officer at Sorwathe Tea Factory, said that it is crucial to put more efforts in stopping harassment of any form for women in their line of work.

“As a company we have learnt a lot through different gender monitoring programs, and with their help we are committed to putting an end to sexual harassment, and we will be able to achieve much more in promoting gender equality in the sector," she added.

Caritas Mukandasira, Deputy Chief Gender Monitor said they are ready to keep working with the private sector in guiding them and sensitizing different companies to eradicate sexual harassment at work and promote the use of inclusive and non-sexist communication.

Mukandasira added that they will put more efforts in sensitizing more young girls into joining the sectors that are male dominated in order to reduce gender gaps.

According to the NISR 2019 survey, women are paid 13 per cent less than men’s monthly salaries.

The survey further shows that the construction sector consists of only 17 per cent of women, transportation and storage consists of only 3 per cent, ICT consists of 31 per cent, while business enterprise ownership and decision making in the private sector consists of 32 per cent.

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