Women's Experiences of Gender Equality Laws in Rural Rwanda: the Case of Kamonyi District.


Kagaba, Mediatrice. 2015. “Women’s Experiences of Gender Equality Laws in Rural Rwanda: The Case of Kamonyi District.” Journal of Eastern African Studies 9 (4): 574–92.

Author: Mediatrice Kagaba


This article analyses how women in the rural district of Kamonyi experience gender equality laws and policies in their everyday lives. Traditional Rwandan society had a patriarchal social structure that accepted unequal power relations between men and women. The 2003 new constitution, adopted after the 1994 Tutsi genocide, recognizes the importance of gender equality and includes specific legal provisions to ensure women's equal protection under the law. Drawing on focus group discussions with women in Kamonyi, it emerges that women's experiences are mixed with regard to the new laws: they enjoy the right of access to family assets, inheritance, and work opportunities; yet they also experience a “gender dilemma” of whether to exercise rights enshrined in the constitution even though that may lead to marital difficulties in their households.

Keywords: Rwanda, women's rights, empowerment, gender equality

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Post-Conflict, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2015

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