Rwanda: Women Hold Up Half the Parliament

Case Study

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March 2, 2011

Rwanda: Women Hold Up Half the Parliament

In October 2003, women won 4% of seats in Rwanda’s lower house of Parliament.  Having achieved near-parity in the representation of men and women its legislature, this small African country now ranks first among all countries of the world in terms of the number of women elected to parliament. The dramatic gains for women are a result of specific mechanisms used to increase women’s political participation, among them a constitutional guarantee, a quota system, and innovative electoral structures. This case study will describe those mechanisms and attempt to explain their origins, focusing in particular on the relationship between women’s political representation and the organized women’s movement, significant changes in gender roles in post-genocide Rwanda, and the commitment of Rwanda’s ruling party, the RPF, to gender issues. It will also briefly introduce some of the achievements and challenges ahead for women in Rwanda’s Parliament.

 

 

Resource type: 
Author: 
Elizabeth Powley
Publisher: 
International IDEA
Publication year: 
2004