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September 16, 2008
Rwanda’s parliament mandates quota for women


The parliamentary building in Kigali, Rwanda.

Women make up 48 percent of Rwanda’s parliament — a result of both an electoral quota (of 30 percent female) and of the death of many men in the country’s 1994 genocide.

The women’s leadership has been praised, although some think their appointment is for “the wrong reasons.”

Legislative elections in Rwanda commenced yesterday, with incumbent President Paul Kagame running nearly unopposed and expected to win. This is only the second election since the genocide, which killed an estimated 800,000 Rwandans.

“African Studies Blog” links to an article claiming that though women are participating more and more in politics, they are not able to influence policymaking.

Watch a female member of the Rwandan parliament talk about her experience.

Stephen F. DeAngelis outlines the contributions of women to the Rwandan economy and traces a short history of gender roles in the country. The Washington Post published a video about Rwandan women and the economy.

The United States ranks 68th among countries for the number of women elected to national political office. Cindy McCain, wife of the Republican presidential nominee John McCain, recently wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal praising Rwanda’s women.

For more on the role of women in Rwandan and world politics, tune in to “Women, Power and Politics” on September 19 on NOW.

Photo courtesy of Flickr users youngrobv and John & Mel Kots under a Creative Commons license.

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