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Rwanda’s New Normal: Fair Shares for Women

John Schenk, manager of the World Vision Communications Academy shares with Women of Vision about a powerful webinar “Rwanda’s New Normal: Fair Shares for Women.” Watch the webinar (49 minutes) here.

Rwanda, a postage stamp of a nation whose name is synonymous with the worst genocide in the 20th century, is entering a new era in which equality is flourishing, especially for women.

This is the perspective of author Daphne Bramham, currently in Rwanda, who shared her reflections on the ‘new normal’ reality for Rwandan women with World Vision staff at a 12 July webinar.

“Women have been the backbone of Rwanda’s recovery for the last 18 years,” she messaged via Facebook. “After the genocide 70 per cent of the population was female.”

Ms Bramham is surveying women’s cooperatives, businesses and schools run by women and some of the women legislators who comprise 56 per cent of the country’s parliament.

“Rwanda now has the highest percentage of women in legislative roles in the world. Everything the government does is put through a gender lens,” she said. “To see women get their fair share of jobs and the federal budget reflects their needs.”

Maternal health care is a government priority in Rwanda and revisions in a family law act now ensure property rights, she wrote. A government gender monitoring body tracks gaps and progress.

The Pachuca courts – local village courts created to deal with all of the genocide perpetrators – have just concluded after hearing over a million cases she said.

The international criminal court is winding-down its operations, though there are still genocide perpetrators being returned from other countries to be dealt with by the Rwandan criminal courts, she said.

Ms Bramham has reported extensively of women’s and children’s issues from a polygamous Mormon fundamentalist enclave in British Columbia to human trafficking in Asia where she visited World Vision’s work last year.

She is the author of The Secret Lives of Saints: Child Brides and Lost Boys in Canada’s Polygamous Mormon Sect, which won the Beyond Borders Media Award.

Ms Bramham spent a month in Cambodia last year researching sex tourism and human trafficking, visiting non-governmental organisation projects including several by World Vision.

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