Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

December Green (Committee Chair), Laura Luehrmann (Committee Member), Donna Schlagheck (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


The case of Rwanda provides a laboratory to explore a unique set of circumstances. This thesis builds upon feminist theory, the literature on post-conflict situations and failed states. It finds that although Rwanda's post-conflict situation provided unexpected and historic opportunities for women to enter politics (a record 64 percent of the members of parliament are female), more women in parliament does not mean the end of patriarchy. Since 1994, Rwanda has experienced significant yet limited progress toward gender equality in employment and education. However, much remains to be done and gender dynamics have not changed substantively. Rather, increasing the numbers of women in parliament has been politically expedient for the governing Rwandan Patriot Front, which has not done all it can to empower women. Therefore, Rwandan women are in a precarious position; they owe their opportunity to participate in democratic institutions to a political party that runs an authoritarian state.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Political Science

Year Degree Awarded