In the Aftermath of Genocide, Rwanda’s Women Have Transformed the Country

April 25, 2019 | Swanee Hunt

For the past 25 years, former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and I have listened with awe to the stories of Rwandan women who came together to rebuild their country after a savage genocide.

This afternoon, The Boston Globe published our piece about this privilege of a lifetime, and I want you to be one of the first to see it.

I’m sure you know how the 100 days of the Rwandan genocide resulted in the unfathomable deaths of approximately 1 million people, 10% of the population. That would be the equivalent of 32 million Americans slaughtered this spring.

The untold story is that when the bloodshed ended, women not only buried the dead and cared for orphaned children, they drove a recovery that laid a foundation for their current political and economic power. Women now hold 61% of seats in the Rwandan parliament, by far the world’s largest proportion. Small businesses owned by women have helped sustain the country’s economic renaissance. And education reform is creating a new era of female students, scholars, and opportunity.

When chaos cracked open the culture, women surged into the breach to rebuild their country. Out of the ashes, they created a model for sustainable peace and security worldwide.

I’ll stop here, because I want you to read how women have transformed Rwanda and celebrate alongside President Johnson Sirleaf and me the triumphs, the breakthroughs, and the remarkable progress made by Rwanda’s tenacious women.

I’m gratified to share my work—and grateful for your feedback.

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