Participants in Rwanda Women's Networks programme. Photo: Gloria Powell

Why The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation works in Rwanda

In 1994, a genocide against Tutsis took place in Rwanda. In just three months, more than a million people were murdered. Women suffered heavily: many were raped and infected with HIV, and others lost their partners or were left widowed.

After the genocide, the government made a concerted effort to rebuild society. Rwandan women played a key role in this process. One of the victories they achieved was co-creating a progressive new constitution, guaranteeing women at least 30% of positions in all decision-making bodies in the country.

This has made Rwanda the world’s leader in number of women in parliament: 61% of the seats are held by women. Since the genocide, many laws have also been passed to strengthen women’s rights. Today, for example, women have the same right as men to inherit land.

Women still face challenges

Although the country is at the global forefront in terms of women’s representation in parliament, many women still face challenges when it comes to qualitative participation, freedom from violence and full enjoyment of human rights. The embedded patriarchal structures reinforce gender inequalities and women remain underrepresented on lower levels of decision-making such as in districts, sectors, cells, and villages.

Teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence

Teenage pregnancies are on the rise and gender-based violence remains a problem. The National Institute of Statistics estimates that 36.1% of the women in the country have experienced physical violence.

Lack of economic gender justice

There are also remaining significant challenges that prohibit women and girls from fully participating in economic decision-making and having access to equitable economic opportunities. Traditional gender norms and practices are still very much rooted at household and community level, and women are expected to submit to their role as a wife and mothers.

That is why Kvinna till Kvinna works in Rwanda: to ensure the country’s positive development continues. We strive for genuine equality, so that all women may participate fully in society.

Last updated or reviewed 30 May 2024
Published 3 April 2024