People are Watching

2:50pm December 6, 2008
KIST Campus, Building 2, Kigali, Rwanda

“Women are the agents of change.”

-Ambassador Joy at the annual conference for the Rwandan Association of University Women (RAUW)

As a dangerously over-educated person (as Karen Leahey calls me), I couldn’t be happier sitting among the RAUW members today. There was Dinah from AGASEKE, Sarah Ingabire from FAWE, Angelina from the Rwanda Public Service Commission, and Shirley Randall of, well, the world! While each of the women pursue different paths, each is equally impressive and equally value education.

Today, RAUW held its annual conference where we discussed, among other things, the need to deliver, that is improve the lives of women given the opportunities available. Ambassador Joy brought this message home, as did Hon Juliana Kanengwa who is a member of the Pan African Parliament, and Senator Beatrice. What opportunities exist? Well, Rwanda has the largest percentage of women in Parliament (governing body) in the world at 56%. While this might not reflect the gender dynamic in rural areas, the presence of women in leadership presents an opportunity to shape the policies at the government level which will eventually affect the individual dynamics in rural and urban environments in Rwanda. And let’s not stop there, it presents the opportunity to affect the world. As Ambassador Joy aptly said today, “people are watching.” And frankly, they should.