Rwandan Women 's Movement : Rwanda Essay

1319 Words Dec 4th, 2015 null Page
Six Rwandan people died every minute during a 100-day period between April and July 1994 (“Statistics”). Each man, women and child was killed as part of a genocide resulting from increased tensions between the nation’s Hutu ethnic majority and the powerful Tutsi minority. After a plane carrying the country’s Hutu president was shot down in April 1994, extreme Hutu nationalists used the tragedy as an opportunity to gain power and kill Tutsis and moderate Hutus (“Rwanda”). An estimated 800,000 to one million Rwandans were killed in the genocide, leaving only 300,000 to 400,000 survivors and ten times as many widows as widowers (“Statistics”). A historically patriarchal society, Rwanda faced a post-genocide societal shift, necessitated by seventy percent of the population being female (Goldfaden 1). Rwandan women, who traditionally had low literacy rates and little government representation, became responsible for rebuilding a nation, bolstering Rwanda’s women’s movement. Though the Rwandan women’s movement began well before the turbulent ‘90s—the first Ministry of Women in the country was created in 1965—it wasn’t until women were faced with “reconstruction efforts including burying the dead, finding homes for nearly 500,000 orphans, and building shelters” that the movement gained significant ground, a “triumph over tragedy” (Goldfaden 1). The movement’s success continues today. Rwanda ranked sixth on the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Gender Gap Report, which scored 145…

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