Women & leadership delegation in Rwanda
by Katie Carlson (GEI Program Manager, Rwanda)
Women from 4 continents came together in Kigali last week to learn about the amazing success story that Rwanda has become in terms of promoting women in leadership positions, and to build friendships across the cultures. Katie Carlson, GEI’s Program Manager in Rwanda, shares one of the most powerful moments:
One of the participants shared an amazing story with the group, describing how she was one of the first women to be allowed into the British Royal Navy, and was the only female Naval Instructor among 700 men. She faced many challenges in her lifetime, being from a generation of women that were experiencing new rights and freedoms for the very first time in history and were faced by strong resistance from colleagues and even family, but she never gave up. She stands now as a true role model for younger women.
Echoing her thoughts that evening was Marie Christine Gasingirwa, the Director General for Science, Technology and Research at the Ministry of Education. Marie Christine described at length the typical lives of most young Rwandan women and the social and cultural expectations that hold them back from achieving their full potential in life, to be happy, healthy, safe and prosperous. At the end of her story, she challenged all of us present, particularly her Rwandan colleagues, as to why we should accept this reality any longer. The women of Rwanda are smart, strong and capable, she said, and it is time for them to rise up and take their rightful place in society.
Though these women sharing their stories came from vastly different worlds, they do have a common bond that ties them together through their experiences of struggle and inequality found in their lived realities as women. These are the unique and powerful moments that make the Women & Leadership Program so truly moving and inspiring for all participants.
For further information about the program, please visit the program page.
Next program dates: Nov 30-Dec 6, 2014.