Lessons from Rwanda: female political representation and women’s rights
Publisher: South African Institute of International Affairs
Publication Date: Jan 2017
Gender equality is a basic human right that entails equal opportunities for men and women in all facets of life: socially, economically, developmentally and politically. According to the Beijing Platform for Action, without the active participation of women in and the incorporation of their perspectives at all levels of decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved.
This paper sets out to examine the increased female representation in Rwanda’s Parliament to determine whether it has affected women in other spheres of life. It also provides an overview of the current status of women in African politics, as well as of the current governance situation in Rwanda.
It is clear that Rwanda has made significant efforts to elevate the status of women in its post-genocide society. However, it is also important to recognise Parliament’s limitations in an increasingly authoritarian system of governance. While women members of Parliament have passed legislation to empower women in society, a lack of information and education prevents many from taking advantage of new opportunities. Yet Rwanda is clearly on the right path towards improving its gender parity and must uphold its efforts to do so, while prioritising formal education for girls and women at all levels.