Yashyizweho kuri 11 April, 2018 | 09:07

Quiet habits of Rwandan women hold them back from visibility in public

Quiet habit of Rwandan women hold them back from visibility in public. This issue was raised in a workshop led by Swedish Embassy at Kigali, in March 2018, aiming to train women to talk loudly and write about their achievements, using big social channels like Wikipedia. “Wiki Gap” the initiative of Swedish Embassy was created to address low number of female authors and articles about female achievements on Wikipedia.

According to the research done by Wikipedia, a social encyclopedic website, women’s achievements are shortlisted on Wikipedia. This leaves a big gap and limits the social and public development of women. Statistics shows that among 10 people, only one woman writes and posts on Wikipedia, while articles about women are four times less than about men. This makes their achievements short-listed on Wikipedia, and many of them are still unknown by the public.

In Rwanda women are raised to be silent, leading to a low number of publications by female authors and a low number of Wikipedia articles about their achievements.
“We live in a century of information, everything done must be talked about and known” states Sylvie Nsanga, a women rights activist with ICT background. Nsanga says that Rwandan female society encounters many challenges based on the culture. In Rwanda, women are taught to talk softly and be quiet, which makes it hard for a woman to talk in public, particularly when they have to talk about themselves.
Traditionally, a woman works hard for the family and in and around the house, explains Nsanga, who knows, that all those work is never recognized. “Today, we need changes. Women must learn to be visible in public and be trained to use technology in order to be able to write and publish”, Nsanga says.

Brenda Kalinda is a former Rwandan woman journalist, now working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Kalinda says that women are still bland themselves; they always want to keep their works secret, and is not that easy for a woman to get an opportunity to talk loudly in many male dominated fields like media. Kalinda still believes that women need to stand up and fight for their rights; she says that women have to own their success instead of waiting for marriage. Her own motto is: “Behind every successful woman, there is herself.”

Different women supporters are taking action

In the fight of breaking women silence and help them to talk and write about their achievements, different women supporters are stepping in.
As it was said by Swedish Ambassador at Kigali, Her Excellency Jenny Ohlsson, their main objective is to increase the number of women representation in different areas and encourage them to publish their work.

They expect from their “Wiki Gap” initiative an increased number of Rwandan and African women to be active on Wikipedia. Furthermore, they aim to raise the interest of researchers, journalists and students on female achievements through more Wikipedia articles and wish to inspire other women to tell their stories and publish their achievements.

Francine Andrew Mukase


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