Accepted paper:

Rwanda's historical, economic and political progressive attitudes towards women empowerment

Authors:

Jonathan Beloff (SOAS)

Paper short abstract:

This research examines the reasons for why the Rwanda Government sets forth policies to promote women. Additionally, it examines how current women in power are using their positions to advocate for women's critical role in the development of the state and the nation's future.

Paper long abstract:

Rwanda has become an international leader in Women's representation within government. After the recent 2018 Parliamentary election, sixty-seven percent of members of the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house in Parliament) were women. This continued a trend of women representation in government institutions with previous percentages in the Chamber of Deputies being sixty-four percent and fifty-six percent after the 2013 and 2008 Parliamentary elections respectively. Promotion of women within Rwanda goes beyond the political realm and into other sectors of the economy and civil society. How the Rwanda Government, led by President Paul Kagame, promotes women in most facets of society has earned him and his government international praise. However, there are still questions of whether women are being placed in decision-making roles and whether there is true equal rights and respect for women within society. This research attempts to explain the reasons for why the Rwanda Government sets forth policies to promote women. It argues that current trends stem from three important elements: the historical role of women in the Rwanda Patriotic Front in its formation in 1987 and the Rwanda Civil War (1990-1994); push towards development and logistical role women play within the economy; and trending international norms that favour women empowerment. Additionally, it examines how current women in power are using their positions to advocate for women's critical role in the development of the state and the nation's future. These elements together provide a clear description of the rationale behind Rwanda's strive towards female empowerment in society.

panel B2
Just add women? The developmental impact of opening up politics to women [paper]