I recently attended Leonard Kaplan’s visionary conference in D.C. earlier this month. We learned amazing statistics about how our world is improving. One of the great institutions we were introduced to is Ambassador Swanee Hunt’s Institute for Inclusive Security, which helps increase women’s representation in government and crisis negotiation across the world.
Women are gaining steam in their voices. In fact, as I’ve noted in the past, the United States is actually far behind. Here are some exciting new developments in countries which may not usually be considered advanced.
As early as 2003, Rwanda took a firm stance, giving women strong representation in the government. In fact, even though this was right after the genocide, Rwanda’s new rules made it the bar none leader in women representation. In 2003, the first parliamentary election after the atrocities, women attained 49% of seats in the Lower House. In 2008, women achieved 56% of the Lower House.*
Read this with joy, for rights, security, and representation as a model: Rwanda is the first adopter, and the only country worldwide, to have a majority of women in the Parliament.
In 2005, in the Lower House of their legislative body, women represent 85 out of 250 seats, which translates into 34%. Women represent 23 out of 105 seats, 22.5%, in the Upper House. One-third of the seats in the upper house are appointed by the president, and of those, 50% are women. Much of this representation is over the quota, which guarantees 25% women representatives in the Lower House.*
How thrilling that our country, as well as others, can learn from this global example. Whether you care about women, human rights, or representing different viewpoints, this is a major step of achievement for anyone disenfranchised across the world. Thank you, Rwanda and Afghanistan, for such a beautiful example.
You can help.
Donate to educate girls in Rwanda.
Donate to give women in Afghanistan business skills.
Give women the tools they need to seek justice.
*Statistics courtesy of the Institute for Inclusive Security