Women’s rights and the well-being of the Rwandan family

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för socialt arbete

Abstract: The main objective of this study was “How the promotion of the rights of women can lead to the improvement of the well-being of the family in Rwanda.” Human rights are fundamental entitlements adopted to protect the dignity and worth of the human being. Despite this, worldwide, women have been and are still discriminated against. With the development of the human rights law, the struggle to promote equal rights between men and women has taken centre stage. There are significant obstacles affecting gender relations, the family well-being and the role and the place of women in the Rwandan society, including inside the family. These problems hinder full enjoyment of women’s rights. The study focused more specifically on how the well-being of the family is affected by the situation of women. Empowerment theory and the Human Rights-Based Approach have all been used. This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews and documents analysis for data collection. A total of thirteen respondents, including key informants participated in the study conducted in Rwanda. For analysis purposes, qualitative content analysis was used. The study revealed that those who understand the meaning and importance of women’s rights promotion realized that women’s rights contribute a lot to the well-being of the family and in maintaining positive gender relations. But for those who do not understand this, especially men and some women who misuse these rights, the promotion of women’s rights can trigger violent conflicts in the family. The study highlighted some of the obstacles that hinder women’s rights promotion such as resistance to change, illiteracy and ignorance, poverty, problems related to land and property and children born outside wedlock. The study further revealed that cultural and religious values can play an important role in promoting women’s rights and in protecting the family. The study underscored that cultural values are weakening because of history of genocide against Tutsi and because of globalization. Furthermore, it revealed that men do not participate in the activities and programs for women’s rights promotion. The study examined the different mechanisms put in place by the government of Rwanda for women and family rights promotion. They include legal frameworks, policies and institutional frameworks for women and family rights promotion. To protect the gains and rectify the shortcomings in the promotion of women’s rights and family well-being, the study gave recommendations to the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion and its stakeholders. They include intensifying women’s rights awareness campaigns; to encourage and support dialogue between spouses in the family; safeguard the cultural values; engage men in women’s rights and gender related discussions, programs and activities; be contextually and culturally sensitive in the elaboration and implementation of policies; strengthen the education sector and adult literacy.

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