Mageza-Barthel provides a context sensitive analysis of how Rwanda's women's movement used the United Nations (UN) gender norms in its efforts to insert gender-specific demands in the post-genocide period. The overall goal of these women - and their supporters - has been to further gender equality and equity in Rwanda. This study details which political processes could be engendered. It further illustrates why certain gender norms were adopted and adapted, whereas others were not. The study addresses issues of global governance in gender politics through such international frameworks as CEDAW, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as Resolution 1325. These instruments have been brought forth by a transnational women’s movement to benefit women and women’s rights across the globe. It shows how these gender norms were introduced, adapted and contested locally at a crucial time of the transformation process underway. Concerned with the interplay of domestic and international politics, it also alludes to the unique circumstances in Rwanda that have led to unprecedented levels of women’s political representation. Which tools have been the most significant in women’s mobilisation and how these relate to precedents set within international relations is of interest to a wide community of scholars and policy-makers alike.
Rirhandu Mageza-Barthel is a Research Fellow and a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Goethe University Frankfurt. Her research addresses the international relations of gender politics in the global South.
’Set against the representation of women suffering from sexual violence during wars this is a tremendously important book. Its portrayal of Rwandan women as movers and shakers, as agents in political processes, sends out the strong message that women have a crucial role to play in dealing with their past and creating their country’s future. The political weight of this cannot be overstated.’ Susanne Buckley-Zistel, University of Marburg, Germany ’A fascinating account of women's political participation in contemporary Rwanda which brings together analysis of national and international policy-making and mobilisation to provide fresh insights into gender politics in the post-genocide context of the country. Essential reading for anyone interested in gender issues in Africa and in translational politics.’ Jane Freedman, Université de Paris VIII, France