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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

Gender Redefined Journal Entry

What country did the documentary discuss?

Rwanda, which leads the country in terms of female representation in government.  Women were given the right to run for government in 1961 and considering the fairly recent nature of that legislation , their rise to over 50% representation in government has been meteoric.  Rwanda endured a horrific genocide in which almost 1 million people were killed.  It restructured Rwandan society and women made up over 70% of the population.   It forced the men and women of Rwanda to think differently about theirs roles in society.  It also paved the way for women in government.  (Module 8: MISSinterpreted-Gender Redefined/Women in Politics)

What do you think of the law that requires 30% of the elected representative as “women only seats”? Why do you think such a law is a necessary?

I think the law is a good thing.  I think by increasing the number of women in national government does not guarantee an impact on governance, research suggests that it can trigger a transformation in leadership.  Women politicians build on credibility gained from years of informal community leadership by consulting with constituents on legislation that affects them.  Such collaboration enriches policies and programs, creates buy in from the population, raises awareness of the issues, and improves the chances of successful policy implementation.  This law was aimed to compel a change in the perception of women as leaders and authority figures (Module 8: MISSinterpreted-Gender Redefined/Women in Politics) and (Lessons from Rwanda:

Is it a law you would like to see enacted in your own State/Country?  What are the benefits, if any to such a requirement?  What are the limitations?  

While I would love to see a law enacted here, I also know that fewer women tend to step into politics.  I think the biggest thing we need to do in the United States is encourage young ladies to pursue paths dominated by males.  Women are as capable of holding offices as their male counterparts. The pros are quotas do not discriminate but compensate for barriers that prevent women from fair share of political seats, it can minimize the stress often experienced by women in office and it gives women equal representation.  The cons are its gives women preference, elected by gender and not by qualifications and can create conflicts within party organizations.

I was able to find research on “Do quotas for female politicians work”? It was a very interesting article on Brazilian candidates.  The also have the 30% quota law and it was only reached in 2014.  They argue that while it incentivizes women to enter politics and obligates political parties to invest a small portion of government allocated funds in recruiting and designing programming for female candidates, those candidates themselves then often receive little financial support.  (

Why do you think Rwanda had the need for such a law?  What factors may have promoted/facilitated such a change? 

The national government had a significant need of reform, proved to be a striking avenue for women to assume traditionally male roles.  This opportunity presented itself to Rwandan women due to the lack of experienced members available to take part in the new government.  The genocide was the main cause since it left twice as many women as men.  Women after the genocide banned together and demanded power.  They changed the country’s constitution that require that women hold at least 30% of top political roles.

How does the trajectory of women’s rights compare with the U.S.? Compare the date that women got the right to vote in Rwanda, with the U.S.  Examine the scope of their political influence in the respective time period.

Honestly we are so far behind the social change of equality for women.  While female equality has been making progress,  gender inequality in the US continues to persist in many forms, including disparity in women’s political representation and participation, occupational segregation, the gender pay gap and unequal distribution of household labor.  I think another factor is we tend to make it very hard for working mothers to thrive in the workforce.  Daycare is not only hard to find but also extremely expensive.  When I did work, I found that most of my pay would have went to daycare.  I ended up staying at home to care for our kids and we did without simple things (movies, eating out etc.

Rwanda women got the right to vote in 1961,  U.S. women acquire the right to vote in 1920.  Women in the U.S. had to fight for decades in order to achieve this right.  Rwanda women were also given the right to run for government in 1961.  There were however many factors that compelled the change, some were external circumstances and others mandated.  For Rwanda the biggest factor was the genocide but that didn’t take place until 1994.  Women in the U.S. saw change with the first world war.  Both events left women filling roles that were traditionally for men.  It also started the ball rolling to the feminist movement.    It was surprising to read that even though women make up the majority of the population, they only have limited power.  (Fiero (2013) Landmarks in Humanities pgs 425-428)


Ferio, (2017) Landmarks of the Humanities, 4th edition, McGraw Hill Education, Boston, IL

Moura, Paula, Do Quotas For Female Politicians Work?, Retrieved from:  (

Wilber, Roxane, How Women Transform Governance Lessons from Rwanda, Retrieved from: (











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