A World Post-Genocide: How Rwanda Rebuilt with Female Leaders

The Rwandan Genocide occurred from April 7th, 1994 to July 15, 1995. During this 100-day period, armed Hutus killed around 800,000 of the Tutsi minority and moderate Hutus and Twa. As the nation rebuilds almost thirty years after the Genocide, we examine how their female-majority parliament works to heal the country and cultivate unity rather than hate.

by Océane Jones

The mountain gorilla, like this male taking a rest in the Virunga Volcano Forest. is one of the many species unique to Rwanda, among a few neighboring countries. The animals attract tourists from around the world with their unique, gentle nature and human-like habits.
These tea and coffee fields, seen from a bird’s eye view, throughout the nation are Rwanda’s largest export. With workers earning around $1 per 40 kilograms, the industry also provides minimum wage employment. Naiomi is a tea expert working at the One & Only resort located in the forests of the Virunga Volcano Range. “We are proud of our black tea,” Naiomi said. Growing up in Kigali, Rwanda’s largest and capital city, working at the One & Only is a huge accomplishment. Post-genocide, the female-majority parliament gave women the right to own property and make their own income, which was illegal before female leaders came into power. This has led to an increase of 126% of women working in the skilled employment sector, according to Fraym’s ML-Derived Population Data.
With the Rwandan economy relying heavily on tourism, the female-majority parliament has made initiatives to return tourist revenue back to the community, benefiting institutions of education and infrastructure.
Although many travelers are still hesitant to visit Rwanda on account of the Genocide, the nation is rebuilding and stronger than ever, something that can be uniquely attributed to its majority-female parliament. Although women make up almost half of the world’s population, they occupy less than a quarter of political seats globally, according to a study by National Geographic. However, for Rwanda, the Genocide paved the way for gender equality for women to claim their seats in power and change their nation for the better.
Art has blossomed since the election of female leaders in the parliament. Galleries and stores such as Kigali Art Center and the Nymirambo Women’s Center, a female-run boutique funding girls’ education seen here, foster creativity in local youth by establishing school programs. The newly imposed legislature regarding sexual violence against women has also grown the city into an extremely safe place for women, ranked as one of the safest places for female travelers by Wondering Our World.