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Rwanda: Government Drafting Law to Improve Working Conditions for Women

(May 20, 2010) It was reported on May 14, 2010, that the Ministry of Public Services and Labor (MIFOTRA) of Rwanda is in the process of drafting a new law which, if passed, will put in place safeguards to protect pregnant and breast-feeding women from exposure to unsafe work conditions and unfair treatment in the workplace due to their conditions. (Fred Ndoli & Ivan R. Mugisha, New Law to Protect Women Employees in the Pipeline, THE NEW TIMES, May 14, 2010, available at

Samuel Mulindwa, MIFOTRA's Permanent Secretary, stated that the drafting process was initiated because of many complaints made by women about the abuses they suffer at the hands of their employers during pregnancy and thereafter. (Id.) Mulindwa stated that the Ministry is consulting with various institutions and that by the time it is enacted, the law “will boost women's health and job security.” (Id.)

In the consultation process, it was revealed that some employers in Rwanda have discriminatory practices in which women are paid less than their male counterparts for the same job, and men are given priority in the hiring process. (Id.) According to Mulindwa, enacting this law will not be sufficient to end the abuses women suffer in the workplace if it is not paralleled by a campaign to place more women in high positions where they can affect policy making. (Id.)