Rwanda is currently performing well in terms of its economic growth and poverty reduction. The population is predominantly young, and 52% is female. The Country depends mainly on agriculture in terms of employment (around 72% of the active population is employed in Agriculture), and more efforts to develop the non-farm sector are ongoing. Over the last two decades, the country has achieved remarkable socioeconomic progress. Rwanda has become a pioneer and role model for its dedication to and progress made on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Global Gender report put Rwanda on the 12th position, out of 146 countries represented, in closing the gender gap. (World Economic Forum, 2023), The country is globally leading in the percentage of women in parliament at 61.3%. Strong political commitment in Rwanda has resulted in significant positive strides in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Despite these and many other progressive strides, in Rwanda, the 2022 census shows that literacy levels for people aged 15 years and above stand at 78.8%. The data reveals that Rwanda’s males (81%) are more literate than females (76.7%). The unemployment rate in Rwanda is higher among females (43.8%) than males (34.9%). This further constrains women and girls’ already limited opportunities to access resources, create and manage small businesses and participate in decision-making processes.
A gender lens (a tool of thought) integrated with a gender system approach that includes a cultural dimension with value systems, gender and social norms, networks, and hierarchies as posited by (Ridgeway and Correll, 2004), will facilitate a better understanding of the realities of the lives of male and female youth in relation to specific intervention(s), in this case, AGRA Rwanda’s Youth Employment For the Future of Agriculture (YEFFA) program. A gender system is context-specific, an institutionalized system of social practices for constituting people as two significantly different categories, male and female, and organizing social relations of inequality based on that difference. The gender lens proposed here is a systematic and analytical process for identifying, understanding, and describing gender differences and the relevance of gender roles and power dynamics in each political, economic, social and technological context. While sex-disaggregated data provides information on gender differences and inequalities, a gender analysis examines and illuminates why these disparities exist, why they matter and how they might be addressed.