Women rule in Rwanda


Isabelle Alenus-Crosby

Last week, the ruling party in Rwanda won a resounding victory in their parliamentary elections. This surprised no one. What surprised everyone was that during the last election Rwandan women won a 56% representation in the Lower House and that this number has now leapt to a staggering 64%.

Female politicians are consistently beating their male counterparts in openly-contested seats making Rwanda the world’s only parliament where women form a majority. Women are very much underrepresented in almost every national parliament around the world, so what makes Rwanda different?

1) By law, women in Rwanda must have at least 30% of the seats in government, including local government. This is President Kagame’s brainchild, seeking to end the blatant inequality between the sexes still typical across the whole of Africa.

2) The Rwandan population is 60% female. If you compare this to China, where there will be approximately 30 million more men than women by 2020, it makes sense that the Chinese parliament has less women and that the Rwandan parliament has more.

3) Since 1994, Rwandan women have been at the forefront of rebuilding the nation and are now being rewarded for it.

In a vote of confidence, the US government agreed recently to ratify a new trade pact with Rwanda, without questions asked. Rwandan women are obviously doing something very right.