Since its inception in June 2000, the Rwanda National Police (RNP), force embarked on empowering women within the force and protecting the rights of women and girls in general.
Fourteen years on, the number of Female Police Officers has risen to 20 per cent of the current total Police force of over 10, 000 police officers. The latest graduation of police constables on March, 11, 2014 in Gishari, totaled to 1323 officers, with 179 of them women.
At least eight lots of women police officers have graduated at the Police training school in Gishari, Rwamagana district. The eighth class (70 graduates in 2012) was the first to produce a bigger number of women officers compared to men in any of recruitment drives since the force was established.
The Rwanda National Police targets a minimum 30 per cent of female police officers in the force as per the government’s requirement.
Musa Fazil Harelimana, the Internal Security minister says there is need to bridge the gap between male and female Police officers, even if it means surpassing the constitutional required percentage.
In order to place these women in active jobs, the force has established various initiatives to empower women and girls and fight Gender Based Violence (GBV).
The establishment of the Anti Gender Desk and decentralizing it to the district level is a step towards this development path.
In 2009, the RNP in collaboration with One-UN-Rwanda and Imbuto foundation established Isange One Stop Centre in Kacyiru Police Hospital to provide free medical, psycho-socio and legal services to GBV victims.
In 2012, Isange One stop centre received the United Nations Public Award (UNPSA), for being a holistic centre in fighting Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
As part of the women empowerment policy, RNP female officers have opportunity to operate in areas where they have families and through the annual Female Convention, the female officers get together to deliberate on issues that might develop them and lay strategies to solve their challenges.
Rwanda also maintains the highest number of female police peacekeepers worldwide and also the highest percentage of women in leadership roles worldwide, with 56 percent representation.