The lack of a minimum wage in Rwanda is the biggest obstacle towards achieving SDG8 – which advocates for decent work – a report has said. Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN), one of the implementing partners of the Women@Work Campaign has published a position brief on the implementation of SDG8 in Rwanda, which focuses on the promotion of decent work.

“This position brief gives a perspective on the implementation of SDG8 and addresses decent work challenges, highlighting gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment challenges”, explains Odette Dushime Ntambara, Communication & Advocacy Officer for RWN.

The assessment, which is part of a larger report assessing the SDG8 implementation status in Rwanda, was done by the Rwanda CSO SDG5 Forum, a collective of 27 civil society organizations (CSOs) working on human rights and development issues, specifically around gender and women’s empowerment.

Main findings and recommendations

“The key finding from this assessment is that the lack of minimum wage, especially around the informalization of formal economy in Rwanda, misses the opportunity for inclusion of the majority of women in decent work and economic growth,” Ms. Ntambara explains.

Based on this, the collective of 27 CSOs recommends that the National Institution of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) conducts a research to the contribution of unpaid care work on the GDP and women’s involvement in paid work.

They further request trade unions and CSOs to lobby the government to include domestic work in any regulations around minimum wage.

Lastly, they urge the government of Rwanda to speed up the establishment of a minimum wage. There is a ministerial order, but the passing of it has been long overdue.

According to Ms. Ntambara, the implementation of SDG8 is important in Rwanda not only for development and poverty reduction, but also because “work is not only a source of income, but also a source of personal dignity, family stability, peace in community, and economic growth that expands opportunities for productive jobs and employment.”

Rwanda Women’s Network

RWN works towards the improvement of the socioeconomic welfare of women in Rwanda and promotes women’s empowerment by strengthening strategies that empower Rwandan women. In partnership with Hivos, RWN implements the project ‘Women Leadership in the Horticulture Sector in Rwanda’, with the goal to promote the advancement of women’s leadership and representation in decision-making processes in the horticulture by addressing both strategic and practical issues that hinder women’s progress.

Read the position paper Rwanda CSO SDG5 Forum perspective on the implementation of SDG8 in Rwanda.

This article was first published on the website of the Women@Work Campaign.