BY Ismail Akwei, 12:00pm September 05, 2018,

Progress for Rwandan women in parliament but glass ceiling firm at presidency

Rwandan president Paul Kagame awarded the Gender Champion Award in 2016 alongside Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the former Chairperson of the African Union Commission, by the African Women Movement.

Rwanda’s parliament has improved its ratio of women legislators which is the highest in the world. The East African country recently elected 58 women legislators out of the 80 members of parliament. This is an improvement on the previous parliament’s 49 women representatives.

Progress for Rwandan women in parliament but glass ceiling firm at presidency

The data in the table below has been compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union on the basis of information provided by National Parliaments by 1st June 2018.

Rwanda also ranks highest in labour participation among women and women make up more than half of Kagame’s cabinet, but the statistics are not the true reflection of the situation in the country which has been led by Paul Kagame who has been in office for 18 years.

Human rights, legal inequality and access to justice have plagued the country’s positive record on women’s rights and have exposed the glass ceiling that is just above the parliamentary level.

Women have had slim chances of getting to the top in Rwanda’s political hierarchy as the only woman to ever rise to the topmost position was Agathe Uwilingiyimana who was Prime Minister of Rwanda in 1993.

She was assassinated on April 7, 1994, by the presidential guard 14 hours after the assassination of President Habyarimana which commenced the genocide.

Two decades later, two Rwandan women have attempted to run against President Paul Kagame but ended up in jail for various reasons which are politically motivated.

Read more about them below.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: September 5, 2018


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