Segments in this Video

Women Rise to Power in Rwanda (04:43)


In 1994 women and girls made up 70 percent of Rwanda's population, a result of civil war and genocide that devastated the country. Today women have gone from having no voice in Rwanda to being outspoken leaders at the forefront of change.

Rwanda's Women Gain the Right to Own Property (03:03)

New laws in Rwanda increase the rights of married women to own property. The laws also protect women from harassment and beatings by their husbands and in-laws.

Civil Marriages Protect Women's Rights (04:46)

Many couples in Rwanda do not legally marry because they cannot afford the license fee. Government sponsored "free marriage days" encourage couples to legally marry in civil ceremonies; legal marriages ensure the rights of women to jointly own property with their husbands.

Rehema Mukandeheri's Wedding Feast (02:09)

The family Rehema marries into is large and the property that supports them is small. Even so, marriage assures that Rehema cannot legally be cast out of the family should times become even more difficult.

Haguruka Aids Common Law Widows (04:22)

In Rwanda common law wives are not entitled to belongings and property owned by their husbands, even after their husbands die. Haguruka, a legal aid society, advocates on behalf of common law widows and their children.

Rwanda's Genocide (03:03)

More than 175,000 women and girls were infected with HIV through rape during Rwanda's genocide. In a period of 100 days an estimated 50,000 moderate Hutus and 800,000 Tutsi men, women, and children were murdered.

Hutu and Tutsi Women Begin to Heal (05:27)

When the killing in Rwanda's genocide stopped Hutu and Tutsi women were forced to begin living and working alongside each other. The Catholic church actively works to promote healing and forgiveness and to aid the genocide's widows and orphans.

Prison, Confession, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation (03:42)

Many of the 100,000 men accused of participating in Rwanda's genocide have spent nearly ten years in jail awaiting trial. To reduce the backlog of cases the guilty are encouraged to confess in traditional people's courts and to ask forgiveness of victims' families.

Rwandan Women Build Businesses (05:59)

Rwandan women overcome personal grief and traditional oppression to build businesses that help build Rwanda's economy. One widow of the genocide built a coffee plantation that supports many of the impoverished families in her region.

Rwandan Women Govern Their Country (02:57)

Rwandan women were only granted the rights to vote and run for office in 1961. In 2003 Rwanda's new constitution decreed that 30 percent of parliament seats be reserved for female candidates. Today Rwanda leads the world in representation by women in a national legislature.

School Enrollment and Government Quotas (03:09)

Enrollment at Rwanda's universities has increased dramatically but the numbers of girls who drop out of high school is a problem. University students debate Rwanda's policy of reserving 30 percent of parliament seats for women.

Rwanda's Future (01:34)

Rwandan women are asserting their rights, becoming educated, enacting legislation, and building businesses to develop their country. As these women lead Rwanda's recovery from civil war and genocide they serve as role models for future generations of Rwandans and for all of Africa.

The Role of Women in Rwanda's Reconciliation Process (05:09)

Ambassador Swanee Hunt affirms that Rwanda's women have taken the lead in rebuilding their country after the 1994 genocide. She reminds viewers that the genocide created horrible trauma from which many women will not recover.

Empowering Women Promotes Stability (02:43)

Ambassador Swanee Hunt charges that the United States does a "medium to poor" job of guarding women's rights in troubled nations like Rwanda, Afghanistan, and Iraq. She asserts that empowering women will help stabilize Rwanda and other nations.

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Ladies First: Rwandan Women Help Heal Their Nation

DVD Price: $149.95
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After genocide ripped their nation apart in the 1990s, the women of Rwanda have led the healing process and have helped usher in a much-needed era of stability. By depicting the multifaceted efforts of women activists to build a sustainable peace between the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis, this Wide Angle documentary explores the challenges facing Rwanda. The film features an in-depth examination of the remarkable role Rwandan women play in politics and the business sector and shows how one portion of a citizenry, no matter how under-recognized and under-appreciated, can help guide a nation and provide a courageous example to the wider world. Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, discusses Rwanda’s women with Mishal Husain. (57 minutes)

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL36141

ISBN: 978-1-4213-5277-0

Copyright date: ©2004

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

26th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Award, Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story, Long Form


2004 CINE Golden Eagle Award


2004 Sigma Delta Chi Award, Documentary Category (Network/Top 25 Markets)


The 2005 ZIFF Festival of the Dhow Countries

Related Resources

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