Short form: 56% of Rwanda’s parliament, including the Speaker, is female, making them the only majority-women government in the world. They’re systematically dismantling the laws that hold women down, encouraging them to move into the common workforce, and making an organized effort toward community-building throughout Rwanda.
The pessimist in me — which might also be the realist in me — says it can’t last. They’re not exactly surrounded by stable governments, and I’m sure there are tensions and conflicts within Rwandan society that might break them apart from within before these changes can become habit. It’s also not cheerful news when you figure that the reason Rwandan women can do this is that they made up 70% of the population after the genocide. But for all of that: dude. Women are now 55% of Rwandan society, and 56% of its parliament. How many countries in the world can claim such equality of representation?
Only Rwanda. Out of curiosity, I looked up figures on the United States Congress. 17% of the House is female, and 16% of the Senate. (A little more than 19% for the British House of Commons.) Not so great for us — especially when you figure that we still haven’t managed a female president or vice-president, and only one and two substantial candidates for those positions, respectively.
(If there’s one thing I regret about this election season, it’s that the Democratic party had to choose between the African-American candidate and the female one.)
(Then again, if there’s one thing I love about this election season, it’s that the Democratic party got to choose between the African-American candidate and the female one. <g>)
Anyway. Go Rwanda. Go Kagame, for pushing a vision of equality and harmony. I wish them all the good fortune in the world, and hope America can aspire to do half so well.