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Rwanda: The Impact of Women Legislators on Policy Outcomes Affecting Children and Families

Elizabeth Powley

Less than ten years after genocide, Rwanda became first among all nations in terms of women’s political representation, with women holding 48.8% of seats in its lower house of parliament. As such, Rwanda provides a unique opportunity to examine the behavior of a national legislature that has nearly equal representation of men and women. This paper shows that, despite the constraints on their effectiveness and the enormity of the problems facing children and families in Rwanda, women in parliament have emerged as strong advocates for children and families. The paper was prepared as background in anticipation of The State of the World’s Children 2007 report.