Rwanda: 12th Women Police Convention Drawing Strategies For Country’s Enhanced Gender Equality

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The 12th Women Police Convention commenced on Wednesday, September 27, at Rwanda National Police (RNP) headquarters in Kigali.

The annual event brings together female officers from various RNP departments and units to deliberate on gender-related issues within policing.

Under the theme, “Breaking Barriers Towards Gender Equality in Professional Policing,” the convention serves as a platform for senior RNP officials and government leaders to engage with female police officers on matters relevant to their policing duties, accomplishments, challenges, and the path forward to promote gender equality and enhance their professional performance.

During the opening ceremony, Valentine Uwamariya, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, highlighted the positive strides made in breaking stereotypes within the security sector. She emphasized that previous perceptions associated the police, military, and other security agencies with men. However, effective government policies have paved the way for equal opportunities and rights for both men and women.

The RNP, in particular, has witnessed a significant increase in the number of female police officers and their participation in peace support operations, aligning with local and international gender protocols.

Uwamariya said: “A lot has been achieved, and the negative attitude underestimating the abilities of women and girls is changing.”

Today, women make up at least 23 percent of the total RNP force.

Uwamariya also acknowledged that challenges persist, such as the lingering stereotype that policing is primarily a male profession. To address these issues and ensure that women and girls can operate professionally without hindrance, the Women Police Convention provides a platform for open dialogue.

She urged female police officers to excel in their roles, emphasizing that their dedication contributes to building a strong and secure Rwandan community, which is fundamental for sustainable development.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Felix Namuhoranye echoed the importance of the annual convention in promoting women and girls within the police profession. He cited RNP’s efforts to increase the number of women in the force and elevate them to decision-making positions in line with national gender policies.

“Today, female officers hold leadership roles as station commanders, department heads, commissioners, and are deployed in peacekeeping missions,” Namuhoranye said.

Rwanda maintains a female-dominated Formed Police Unit (FPU) contingent under the command of a female officer, serving in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The convention’s agenda includes discussions on the role of women in achieving gender equality in Rwanda, the participation of female police officers in decision-making and command roles, the importance of discipline within the force, and strategies for women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Namuhoranye urged female officers to maintain professionalism in their duties and to actively combat any unprofessional behaviors that could tarnish the image of the country and the police force


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