21 March 2019 17:30 - 19:00

Breaking stereotypes: A panel discussion on the role of women in armed conflict

Speakers & panellists

Opening remarks

Makram Soua

Deputy Head of Delegation, ICRC Rwanda

Opening remarks

Representative of UN Women

Guest of Honor

Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion


Ms. Alice Urusaro Karekezi

Researcher and Lecturer, Centre for Conflict Management of the University of Rwanda


Captain Lausane Nsengimana

Rwanda Defense Force


Representative of Rwanda National Police


Ms. Novella Nikwigize


About the event

In recognition ofInternational Women's Day, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and UN Women are hosting a panel on the "Role of Women in Times of Conflict."

The event will bring together representatives from the humanitarian community, military, government, diplomatic corps and academia explore the multiple, complex and sometimes conflicting roles women play, from fighters to humanitarians, mothers, daughters, laborers, community leaders and survivors, and find new ways to empower women living in conflict zones.

This panel is organised under Humanitarium Kigali, a newly launched ICRC centre for debate and discussions around humanitarian issues and policies.


War, whether international or non-international, causes extreme suffering for those caught up in it. Women experience war in a multitude of ways — from taking an active part in conflict to being targeted as members of the civilian population.

While women are not inherently vulnerable, they often face heightened exposure to specific risks in conflict and other situations of violence. In armed conflicts, women often have to assume a new role as heads of households, in charge of the protection and livelihood of their families when men are killed, wounded or detained. In addition, women may play active role as fighters, protectors of the communities or nations. However, women are often presented as victims of conflicts and their critical role goes undervalued or frequently underpriced.

As its primary goal, the ICRC responds to the specific protection and assistance needs of women and girls affected by conflict and other situation of violence. Breaking the stereotype of women as victims only, the ICRC understands women's empowerment in an operational perspective as: ensuring equal access and participation of women and girls to humanitarian action and strengthening the resilience of women and girls affected by conflict and violence.

Established as a champion for gender equality and women's empowerment, UN Women works to support and enable the UN and the wider humanitarian system to integrate gender equality and women's empowerment throughout all aspects of humanitarian planning and programming. UN Women evidences the differential impacts of disaster or conflict on women; providing coordination and expertise on gender; supporting capacity-building and agency of national actors; and providing targeted services, such as safe spaces or psychosocial counselling wherever there are gaps.

Date & Time

21 March 2019 17:30 - 19:00

Venue address

Kigali Marriot Hotel