Good News Out of Rwanda

September 19, 2008 

Most Americans know only one thing about Rwanda: it was the site one of the worst episodes of genocide in the history of the world in 1994, when Hutus killed an estimated 800,000 Tutsi.  Most people couldn't tell you the reason for the outbreak of violence or what has happened in Rwanda since 1994.

But a bit of promising news emerged from Rwanda this week: Following election on Monday, Rwanda will be the first country in the world with a parliament dominated by women.  President Paul Kagame's ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front, the political party which emerged from the rebel group which brought the genocide to an end, looks to win its second national election since 1994.  Preliminary results indicate that the ruling RPF will retain at least 75% of the seats in parliament.  More impressively, the results also indicate that at least 55% of the members of parliament will be women. 

How does this compare to other countries

  1. Rwanda: 48.8%
  2. Sweden: 45.3%
  3. Norway: 37.9%
  4. Finland: 37.5%
  5. Denmark: 36.9%
  6. Netherlands: 36.7%
  7. Cuba: 36%
    Spain: 36%
  8. Costa Rica: 35.1%
  9. Argentina: 35%
  10. Mozambique: 34.8%

And where does the United States fall?  According to the International Parliamentary Union, the United States ranks 69th worldwide, with women comprising 16.8% of all members of Congress.  And nine countries (Belize, Micronesia, Nauru, Oman, Palau, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu) have no women in parliament.

Categories: Almond Comparative Politics Today 9/e · Almond Comparative Politics Today: ATF 5/e · Art/Jervis International Politics 9/e · Danziger Understanding the Political World 9/e · Draper The Good Society · Goldstein International Relations 8/e · Goldstein International Relations Brief 4/e · Nye Understanding International Conflicts 7/e · Roskin Countries and Concepts 10/e · Roskin IR 7/e · Viotti International Relations and World Politics 4/e
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Jean-Louis Kayitenkore
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