Rwanda: Women Hold Up Half the Parliament
Prepared by Elizabeth Powley
The adoption of special measures has been known to ensure a significant increase in women’s political participation in some countries of the world. In post-genocide Rwanda, a combination of constitutional commitment to gender equality, a quota system and innovative electoral structures fast-tracked women’s political participation, thus making the country the best practice in the world with 48.8% female parliamentarians. In adherence to the country’s principles of gender equality and complementarity, 30% of the seats are reserved exclusively for women. A vibrant women’s movement with a focus on civil society mobilisation, significant change in gender roles in the post –genocide years are also some of the factors responsible for the leap in women’s participation in the life of society. There are still some challenges of underdevelopment, inequality of access and undemocratic processes though, but the introduction of quotas and other mechanisms have brought women into the mainstream of Rwandan domain of politics.