Legacy of Colonialism in the Empowerment of Women in Rwanda

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Ilaria Buscaglia
Shirley Randell


The empowerment of women in Rwanda is rooted in colonial times. In the second half of the 1940s, the Belgian administration, together with religious missionaries, started some educational and social welfare programs for women, known as the foyers sociaux (social homes). This paper explores how this program of female promotion and its progeny affected the domestication of Rwandan women, what caused the situation to change following the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, and what more might be done to stimulate full gender equality in education and employment for women in Rwanda.

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Articles (refereed)
Author Biographies

Ilaria Buscaglia, University of Siena

Ilaria Buscaglia is a PHD student in Anthropology, Ethnology and Cultural Studies at the University of Siena (Italy). She is also a member of the Italian Ethnological Mission in Equatorial Africa, a research group from the University of Turin (Italy).

Shirley Randell, Centre for Gender, Culture and Development, Kigali Institute of Education

Director, Centre for Gender, Culture and Development, Kigali Insitute of Education, Rwanda.