Doing Gender, Doing Leadership. A Phenomenological Study of Women in Leadership Positions in Kigali, Rwanda

University essay from Lunds universitet/LUMID International Master programme in applied International Development and Management

Author: Karolina Wlodarczyk; [2013]

Keywords: Social Sciences;

Abstract: Rwanda is often used as a showcase for promoting gender equality in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result of the progressive policies of the Rwandan government, women hold many high positions in the public and private sector and constitute the highest proportion in the world in a national parliament. However, there is evidence that patriarchal tendencies are still endemic in Rwandan society. Taking into consideration this unique context, the purpose of this study was to investigate how women in leadership positions in Kigali locate themselves as women and leaders and experience performing multiple roles in their private and professional lives. The theory of doing gender was employed in order to better understand this phenomenon. The study utilised phenomenological methodology, focusing on the women’s experiences and perceptions. The results painted an image of a Rwandan woman leader as being extremely committed, strong, and determined to overcome the persisting bias against women in leadership positions. Moreover, the study showed that the participants find it incredibly challenging to manage their roles as career professionals and a housewives, which contributes to an ever-present feeling of guilt for not devoting enough attention to their families.

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