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Amb Swanee Hunt admires progress of Rwandan women-book review

Swanee Hunt addressing the public last evening in Kigali after presenting the book
Swanee Hunt addressing the public last evening in Kigali after presenting the book

Ambassador Swanee Hunt said last Friday June 9, that Rwandan women have grabbed a significant development after the 1994 genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi.

Hunt said this last evening in Kigali while presenting her book ‘Rwandan Women Rising’ written by her since seven teen years ago.

Inspiration

“I was here and interested in women, I took a moment to observe what is happening all over the world, I went to sixty different countries and when I came to Rwanda, I found a difference from any other case in the world,

And so the United Nation asked me to describe what had happened here, I realized that men are supporting women, I learnt something from men here in Rwanda just to date,” Hunt noted.

She said she has learnt a lot from what Rwandan women realized in two decades from a huge devastated history to the era of social-economic development and with the support of political will.

“I have learnt so much, one thing is that women are together in groups of just women like in the national women council, in the constitutional drafting committee, and really strong,” Hunt said.

The book highlights that “In the spring 1994, the tiny African nation of Rwanda was ripped apart by genocide that left nearly a million dead. Neighbors attacked neighbors, Family members turned against their own.

After the violence subsided, Rwanda’s women drawn by the necessity of protecting their families carved out unlikely new roles for themselves as visionary pioneers creating stability and reconciliation in genocide’s wake,” the book highlights.

It also states the fact that today 64 percent of the seats in Rwanda’s elected house of parliament are held by women, a number unrivaled by any other nation.

“While news of the Rwandan genocide reached all corners of the globe, the nation’s recovery and the key role of women are less well known,” the book states.

In Rwandan women rising, Swanee Hunt shares the stories of some seventy women heralded activists and unsung heroes alike who overcame unfathomable brutality, unrecoverable loss, and unending challenges to rebuild Rwandan society.

Swanee Hunt being awarded an artwork - painted image of druming Rwandan women
Swanee Hunt being awarded an artwork – painted image of druming Rwandan women

Hunt, who has worked with women leaders in sixty countries for over two decades, points out that Rwandan women did not seek the limelight or set out to build a movement; rather, they organized around common problems such as health care, housing, and poverty to serve the greater good.

She says that Rwandan women victories were usually in groups and wide ranging, addressing issues such as rape, equality in marriage, female entrepreneurship, reproductive rights, education for girls and mental health.

“These women’s accomplishments provide important lessons for policy makers and activists who are working toward equality elsewhere in Africa and other post conflict societies,” the book states.

Commenting on the book, Senator Jeanne d’Arc Gakuba, the vice president of the senate said however that Rwandan men and women still have a lot to tell, and she encouraged women to write about the tremendous progress made politically, socially and economically.

Swanee Hunt signing the book for Jeanne d'Arc Gakuba, the vice-president of senate in Rwandan Parliament who is among the book contributors
Swanee Hunt signing the book for Jeanne d’Arc Gakuba, the vice-president of senate in Rwandan Parliament who is among the book contributors

“Indeed, since 2000, when Rwanda started working hard on the constitution and adopted the vision 2020, women became really involved in governance, in democratic activities of this country. We now talk about women rising in Rwanda because we have a voice.

Congratulating Hunt for a well done job, Marie Immaculée Ingabire, chairperson of Transparency International Rwanda said that it is ashamed that the person from the United States of America (USA) took the idea of writing on women in Rwanda before anyone else from Rwanda did.

“Personally, I am ashamed, why is Ambassador Swanee Hunt from USA to write a book on women in Rwanda? Because we have really a real story as women,” Ingabire said.

The Minister for gender and family promotion Espérance Nyirasafari said that the book should be a good example to encourage Rwandans writing the own history.

“We can and we have what to tell, we encourage various people to have a writing spirit on this because the lesson was learnt from Rwanda by people all over the world and everyone knows the role of a female Rwandan to rebuild the country after the 1994 genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi,” Nyirasafari noted.

 

Rwanda's Minister of gender and family promotin Esperance Nyirasafari expressing her remarks on the book by Swanee
Rwanda’s Minister of gender and family promotin Esperance Nyirasafari expressing her remarks on the book by Swanee

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