The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Dr. Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya, has requested churches to involve more women in leadership roles as a means of promoting gender equality in Rwanda.
She made the remarks on Thursday while opening of the National conference on the Role of Association of Pentecostal Churches in Rwanda (ADEPR), in promoting gender parity.
The meeting attracted over 250 national pastors and their spouses from across the country. It was aimed at exploring ways to involve more women in leadership roles, from the current 5%.
"It is very good to see that the church has finally realized that the role of women should be recognized in the religious circles. This move will bring harmony in families and increase the pace of development in the country," Mujawamariya said.
She appealed to church leaders to play a leading role in fighting gender-based violence and promoting gender equality.
The Mayor of Muhanga, Yvonne Mutakwasuku, hailed ADEPR for championing the involvement of women in leadership.
Alice Bazaramba, the ADEPR national gender representative, observed that there are very few women in church leadership but there has been a national dialogue to balance the traditional male dominance within the top church leadership.
"The church recognizes women but in a subtle manner. There should be more women in church leadership so as to have their contribution in the growth of the church," she said.
"This calls for change of the mindset and recognition of women as key players in development."
Pastor Samuel Usabwimana, the ADEPR spokesperson, added that women inclusion was welcome but there was need to address cultural perspectives which have discouraged the empowerment of women.
"Women are biblically recognized as partners, and this should be the basis of gender equality and fighting gender-based violence in churches," he said.