Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
descriptive representation, gender-based violence, Rwanda, substantive representation, women's legislative leadership, women's political inclusion
How can the increased political participation of traditionally excluded groups, particularly women, impact policymaking on issues that affect those groups? Using the passage of legislation on gender-based violence (GBV) in Rwanda as a case study, this thesis examines how increased women's "descriptive representation" can lead to "substantive representation" in the context of a political and social environment supportive of women's political inclusion. In addition to the increased political presence of women in parliament as a result of the gender-quota laws, the support of an executive government committed to the political inclusion of women and expansion of women's rights and an active, women-centered element of civil society contributed to the formulation and eventual passage of the GBV legislation. In this thesis, I argue that in Rwanda, the substantive representation of women was achieved not only through increased descriptive representation but also because women in parliament were working in a political and social climate that gave incentives to address issues that concern women, such as gender-based violence.
Marshall, J. (2009). Substantive Representation of Women and its Consequences: The Passage of a Gender-Based-Violence Law in Rwanda (Master's thesis, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/877