Women’s empowerment in the post-1994 Rwanda : the case study of Mayaga Region

Date: September 29, 2014
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This research looks at the process of women’s empowerment in post- 1994 Rwanda, with special focus on twelve cooperatives working in Mayaga region and the way these cooperatives empower women, their households and the community at large. Traditional Rwandan society has been always bound by patriarchy which has not valued the reproductive roles of women as economically productive in their households and the society as a whole. On the one hand, this understanding was reversed in the post-1994 Rwanda by the commitment of the government to gender equality at the highest level of political leadership through progressive policies and legislation. On the other hand, in Mayaga region, cooperatives brought about socio-economic deve lopment and changed relationships of gender and power in a patriarchal post-conflict society. The findings from cooperatives in Mayaga region show that to prevent women from reaching their full potential is economic folly. If women are empowered, they can generate important development outcomes such as improved health, education, income levels and conflict resolution. The findings further indicate how women’s empowerment is determined by the livelihood strategies women adopt themselves to respond to their vulnerability, and by the ways in which they express their agency in making a living in a sustainable way, with the available community assets that they have access to (financial, social, human, natural and physical). This research highlights that the accessibility of the community assets used by women in Mayaga region and in Rwanda as a whole is also determined by policies, institutions and processes that are able to influence their livelihoods positively

Publisher: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Year of Publication: 2011

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