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United Nations (UN) Women engages the media and public influencers in changing negative social norms and stereotypes for the advancement of gender equality and the empowerment of women in all sectors and in all settings. levels in Rwanda

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  Through an interactive dialogue the breakfast meeting was an opportunity to reflect on the role of the media civil society organizations and other influential people in shaping and transforming negative social norms and stereotypes that exacerbate gender inequality tolerate gender violence and prevent the effective enjoyment of women their human rights agreed in national policies and laws Rwanda has made significant progress in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in the country Reports show that there has been unprecedented progress on gender equality in socio economic transformation and transformative governance However challenges to achieving full gender equality and women s empowerment remain rooted in negative social norms and gender stereotypes that if not properly addressed will continue to perpetrate gender based inequalities and violence Social and gender norms are standards and rules that most members of societies agree on the media plays a key role in reshaping norms in a positive way using their power and influence Through a breakfast meeting themed The role of the media in shaping gender and social norms UN Women Rwanda brought together reporters and journalists from different media houses social media influencers members from civil society organisations UN agencies members of Parliament and representatives from different government institutions to discuss existing negative social norms that hinder the promotion of gender equality and define strategies to address them As Guest of Honor at the event Prof Jeannette Bayisenge Minister for Gender and Family Promotion applauded UN Women for bringing together the media CSOs and influencers on this important issue highlighting the critical role they play these actors in disseminating information on a broader scale in advocacy and in shaping how people think behave socialize and act She urged the media to make full use of its powerful role in promoting gender equality family cohesion and the well being of Rwandans Addressing social norms and gender stereotypes embedded in our cultural beliefs and patriarchal society cannot be done overnight It is rather a process that requires a change of mindset and concerted efforts from different stakeholders she said Welcoming the participants UN Women Country Representative Ms Jennet Kem commended the Government of Rwanda for promote gender equality As we work to dismantle negative patriarchal norms it is important to reshape society to adopt and promote positive social norms that contribute to gender equality Today s meeting is a crucial moment for us to build on gender gains in Rwanda reflect on innovative ways and strategies to address persistent negative social norms and gender stereotypes and commit to addressing them sustainably Ms Kem called on the media and other partners to join forces in this regard Opening the event on behalf of the One UN Country Team Mr Ozonnia the UN Resident Coordinator in Rwanda emphasized The media has the power to challenge negative social norms gender stereotypes practices and negative cultural beliefs that continue to tolerate gender inequalities that increase gender based violence said Mr Ozonnia Ojielo UN Resident Coordinator in Rwanda while officiating the event He also reiterated that gender equality and empowerment of women are among the top priorities of One UN and recommitted to working closely with the Government of Rwanda UN Women and different partners including the media CSOs and other key actors to deliver on the agenda of gender equality and women s empowerment and in particular in this journey to challenge social norms negative cultural beliefs attitudes patriarchal rights gender stereotypes and gender based violence field of gender equality made up of Mr Silas Ngayaboshya General Director of Gender Promotion and Women s Empowerment of the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion MIGEPROF Mr Fidele Rutayisire Executive Director of RWAMREC Ms Gaudence Mushimiyimana Executive Director of UNABU prompted discussions on the role of the media in shaping social and gender norms According to a survey conducted by RWAMREC 56 of men fear that they would not be needed at home if their wives were financially independent Mr Fidele Rutayisire Executive Director of RWAMREC said that This is one of the many negative social norms that hinder our efforts to economically empower women Another example shared during the discussions is the increased number of women serving as deputy mayors in charge of social affairs in the districts It is an achievement to have women in leadership positions However they are still believed to perform better than men in social matters than in economic or other technical matters DG Ngayaboshya sharing the experiences they face in efforts to change mindsets on gender equality emphasized that men and women should not choose careers based on their gender but rather based on their abilities Speaking at the media panel Ms Gaudence Uwamariya Executive Secretary of UNABU a local NGO representing women with disabilities put into perspective the negative social norms about people living with disabilities particularly women and invited the media and public influencers to be enthusiastic in the inclusion of disability in its defense She said that the media should not contribute to the victimization of people with disabilities especially women and girls Women with disabilities face discrimination because men think they cannot carry out their duties at home such as cooking taking care of children and working in the fields among other tasks said Ms Uwamariya It encouraged the media to contribute to changing mindsets and attitudes towards people living with disabilities by raising awareness to remove barriers for girls and boys and enable them to enjoy all their rights as human beings furthermore the Ms Murebwayire Shafiga Manager of the Rwanda Investigation Division of the Gender Violence Crimes Division presented the state of violence against women in the country indicating an increase in incidents of gender violence however there was also a growing trend in complaints She said that the media is doing well in communication and promotion especially around gender based violence but the choice of words must be careful to avoid re victimization of victims The media must take into account what information should be in public to avoid distorting evidence and protect victims Noting the high expectations of the media expressed during the meeting Edmond Kagire an experienced journalist and social media influencer acknowledged that the media plays a role in fostering negative norms in both news coverage profiling the issues and in the choice of words on the microphone or on the paper There is a great need for gender sensitive media training and reporting guidelines to help us get on the right track on this journey Kagire said He also expressed his commitment on behalf of his fellow media professionals to challenge the status quo We recognize our important role in reshaping social and gender norms and from what was discussed here I believe that those who attended today s meeting will become agents of change in our newsrooms and on our networking platforms in collaboration with the guidance of UN Women Kagire pointed out Through open dialogues panelists and participants exchanged personal experiences to highlight the impact of negative social norms and gender stereotypes both in their work areas and in their daily lives They also put forward a series of recommendations on how to address them and bring about positive change in society In her closing remarks Ms Jennet Kem UN Women Representative in Rwanda reiterated that not all social norms are bad and ending negative social norms is not a fight between men and women This is an issue where both genders need to work together We create accountability mechanisms for gender sensitive reporting she concluded Among many others Ms Juliet Karitanyi a communications expert who attended the breakfast meeting proposed creating an online document that will help list negative social norms that condone gender inequalities adding that this will help address them properly The breakfast meeting ended on a high note of participation and engagement from all partners media and influencers
United Nations (UN) Women engages the media and public influencers in changing negative social norms and stereotypes for the advancement of gender equality and the empowerment of women in all sectors and in all settings. levels in Rwanda

1 Through an interactive dialogue, the breakfast meeting was an opportunity to reflect on the role of the media, civil society organizations and other influential people in shaping and transforming negative social norms and stereotypes that exacerbate gender inequality, tolerate gender violence and prevent the effective enjoyment of women.

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2 their human rights agreed in national policies and laws.

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3 Rwanda has made significant progress in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in the country.

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4 Reports show that there has been unprecedented progress on gender equality in socio-economic transformation and transformative governance.

5 However, challenges to achieving full gender equality and women’s empowerment remain, rooted in negative social norms and gender stereotypes that, if not properly addressed, will continue to perpetrate gender-based inequalities and violence.

6 Social and gender norms are standards and rules that most members of societies agree on, the media plays a key role in reshaping norms in a positive way using their power and influence.

7 Through a breakfast meeting themed “The role of the media in shaping gender and social norms”, UN Women Rwanda brought together reporters and journalists from different media houses, social media influencers, members from civil society organisations, UN agencies, members of Parliament and representatives.

8 from different government institutions to discuss existing negative social norms that hinder the promotion of gender equality and define strategies to address them.

9 As Guest of Honor at the event, Prof. Jeannette Bayisenge, Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, applauded UN Women for bringing together the media, CSOs and influencers on this important issue, highlighting the critical role they play.

10 these actors in disseminating information on a broader scale.

11 in advocacy and in shaping how people think, behave, socialize, and act.

12 She urged the media to make full use of its powerful role in promoting gender equality, family cohesion and the well-being of Rwandans.

13 “Addressing social norms and gender stereotypes embedded in our cultural beliefs and patriarchal society cannot be done overnight.

14 It is rather a process that requires a change of mindset and concerted efforts from different stakeholders,” she said.

15 Welcoming the participants, UN Women Country Representative Ms. Jennet Kem commended the Government of Rwanda for promote gender equality.”As we work to dismantle negative patriarchal norms, it is important to reshape society to adopt and promote positive social norms that contribute to gender equality.

16 Today‘s meeting is a crucial moment for us to build on gender gains in Rwanda, reflect on innovative ways and strategies to address persistent negative social norms and gender.

17 stereotypes and commit to addressing them sustainably.” Ms. Kem called on the media and other partners to join forces in this regard.

18 Opening the event on behalf of the One UN Country Team, Mr. Ozonnia, the UN Resident Coordinator in Rwanda, emphasized: “The media has the power to challenge negative social norms, gender stereotypes, practices and negative cultural beliefs that continue to tolerate gender inequalities that increase gender-based violence,” said Mr. Ozonnia Ojielo, UN Resident Coordinator in Rwanda while officiating the event.

19 He also reiterated that gender equality and empowerment of women are among the top priorities of One UN and recommitted to working closely with the Government of Rwanda, UN Women and different partners, including the media, CSOs and other key actors to deliver on the agenda of gender equality and women’s empowerment, and in particular, in this journey to challenge social norms, negative cultural beliefs, attitudes patriarchal rights, gender stereotypes and gender-based violence.

20 field of gender equality, made up of Mr. Silas Ngayaboshya, General Director of Gender Promotion and Women’s Empowerment of the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF), Mr. Fidele Rutayisire, Executive Director of RWAMREC, Ms. Gaudence Mushimiyimana, Executive Director of UNABU prompted discussions on the role of the media in shaping social and gender norms.

21 According to a survey conducted by RWAMREC, 56% of men fear that they would not be needed at home if their wives were financially independent.

22 Mr. Fidele Rutayisire, Executive Director of RWAMREC, said that “This is one of the many negative social norms that hinder our efforts to economically empower women”.

23 Another example shared during the discussions is the increased number of women serving as deputy mayors in charge of social affairs in the districts.

24 “It is an achievement to have women in leadership positions.

25 However, they are still believed to perform better than men in social matters than in economic or other technical matters.” DG Ngayaboshya, sharing the experiences they face in efforts to change mindsets on gender equality, emphasized that men and women should not choose careers based on their gender, but rather based on their abilities.

26 Speaking at the media panel, Ms. Gaudence Uwamariya, Executive Secretary of UNABU, a local NGO representing women with disabilities, put into perspective the negative social norms about people living with disabilities, particularly women, and invited the media and public influencers to be enthusiastic.

27 in the inclusion of disability in its defense.

28 She said that the media should not contribute to the victimization of people with disabilities, especially women and girls.

29 “Women with disabilities face discrimination because men think they cannot carry out their duties at home, such as cooking, taking care of children and working in the fields, among other tasks,” said Ms. Uwamariya.

30 It encouraged the media to contribute to changing mindsets and attitudes towards people living with disabilities by raising awareness to remove barriers for girls and boys and enable them to enjoy all their rights as human beings”, furthermore, the Ms. Murebwayire Shafiga, Manager of the Rwanda Investigation Division of the Gender Violence Crimes Division, presented the state of violence against women in the country, indicating an increase in incidents of gender violence; however, there was also a growing trend in complaints.

31 She said that the media is doing well in communication and promotion, especially around gender-based violence, but the choice of words must be careful to avoid re-victimization of victims.

32 “The media must take into account what information should be in public to avoid distorting evidence and protect victims.”

33 Noting the high expectations of the media expressed during the meeting, Edmond Kagire, an experienced journalist and social media influencer, acknowledged that the media plays a role in fostering negative norms in both news coverage, profiling the issues and in the choice of words.

34 on the microphone or on the paper.

35 “There is a great need for gender-sensitive media training and reporting guidelines to help us get on the right track on this journey,” Kagire said.

36 He also expressed his commitment on behalf of his fellow media professionals to challenge the status quo.

37 “We recognize our important role in reshaping social and gender norms, and from what was discussed here, I believe that those who attended today’s meeting will become agents of change in our newsrooms and on our networking platforms.

38 in collaboration with the guidance of UN Women”.

39 Kagire pointed out.

40 Through open dialogues, panelists and participants exchanged personal experiences to highlight the impact of negative social norms and gender stereotypes both in their work areas and in their daily lives.

41 They also put forward a series of recommendations on how to address them and bring about positive change in society.

42 In her closing remarks, Ms. Jennet Kem, UN Women Representative in Rwanda, reiterated that not all social norms are bad and ending negative social norms is not a fight between men and women.

43 “This is an issue where both genders need to work together.

44 We create accountability mechanisms for gender-sensitive reporting,” she concluded.

45 Among many others, Ms. Juliet Karitanyi, a communications expert who attended the breakfast meeting, proposed creating an online document that will help list negative social norms that condone gender inequalities, adding that this will help address them.

46 properly.

47 The breakfast meeting ended on a high note of participation and engagement from all partners, media and influencers.

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