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A Window of Opportunity A Minor Field Study of Empowerment in Women's Councils in Rwanda

Olsson, Anna-Maria (2006)
Department of Political Science
Abstract
The genocide in 1994 left Rwanda with economical, political and social structures in shambles. These circumstances equally forced and enabled women to take on new roles and tasks in the reconstruction of the country and opened a window of opportunity for women to the arena of Rwandan politics. A national structure of women's councils and quotas for women in parliament are initiatives with a high potential for women's political inclusion.

The purpose of the thesis is to analyse whether the new institutional arrangements, and especially the women's councils at local level, have contributed to political empowerment for women in Rwanda. Moreover, I have been interested in the interplay between empowerment at immediate (individual and group)... (More)
The genocide in 1994 left Rwanda with economical, political and social structures in shambles. These circumstances equally forced and enabled women to take on new roles and tasks in the reconstruction of the country and opened a window of opportunity for women to the arena of Rwandan politics. A national structure of women's councils and quotas for women in parliament are initiatives with a high potential for women's political inclusion.

The purpose of the thesis is to analyse whether the new institutional arrangements, and especially the women's councils at local level, have contributed to political empowerment for women in Rwanda. Moreover, I have been interested in the interplay between empowerment at immediate (individual and group) level and intermediate (institutional) level with departure from theories on political participation and representation.

The field study indicates that women's resources were strengthened at immediate level. However, there are fewer indications that the resources will lead to political action and that women's councils serve as a bridge between women at grass root level and in Parliament. Empowerment for women at local level is complicated by the political context, economical barriers for participation and confusion of roles between the women at local level and women parliamentarians. (Less)
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@misc{1328623,
  abstract     = {The genocide in 1994 left Rwanda with economical, political and social structures in shambles. These circumstances equally forced and enabled women to take on new roles and tasks in the reconstruction of the country and opened a window of opportunity for women to the arena of Rwandan politics. A national structure of women's councils and quotas for women in parliament are initiatives with a high potential for women's political inclusion.

The purpose of the thesis is to analyse whether the new institutional arrangements, and especially the women's councils at local level, have contributed to political empowerment for women in Rwanda. Moreover, I have been interested in the interplay between empowerment at immediate (individual and group) level and intermediate (institutional) level with departure from theories on political participation and representation.

The field study indicates that women's resources were strengthened at immediate level. However, there are fewer indications that the resources will lead to political action and that women's councils serve as a bridge between women at grass root level and in Parliament. Empowerment for women at local level is complicated by the political context, economical barriers for participation and confusion of roles between the women at local level and women parliamentarians.},
  author       = {Olsson, Anna-Maria},
  keyword      = {empowerment,women?s councils,political representation,feminist political theory,Rwanda,Social sciences,Samhällsvetenskaper,Political and administrative sciences,Statsvetenskap, förvaltningskunskap},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {A Window of Opportunity A Minor Field Study of Empowerment in Women's Councils in Rwanda},
  year         = {2006},
}