WOMEN PARTICPATION IN POLITICS AT THE GRASSROOTS IN KICUKIRO SECTOR IN RWANDA
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This study seeks to investigate the level of women’s participation in politics in Kicukiro, Kicukiro sector, Kigali, Rwanda. There have been national and international policies to foster women participation in politics, however the level of women’s participation at the grassroots has been low which is different from a higher participation at the national levels in Rwanda. Rwanda has been celebrated due to the increase of women participation in parliament. Hence, Rwandan women have been hailed globally for their role in political leadership for women globally. At the moment in the world and Africa, Rwanda is one of the highest performing in women’s political leadership above the gender quota of 30%. Kicukiro district is one of the biggest and important district in Kigali. It plays host to various national and international programs for women, hence women are deeded to be aware of the role in politics. The objectives of the study are to identify ways women participate in politics at the grassroots, also it investigates the perceptions of the public on women in politics. Lastly, it explores the impeding factors as well as the effects of women participation in politics at the grassroots in Kicukiro. The study was delimited to Kicukiro sector because it best suits the characteristics under study. Literature was reviewed on the following sub heading: women participation in political systems from a global and African perspective, economic factors and their influence on women’s participation in political leadership, gender equality and the quota system, cultural factors and its influence on women’s participation in political leadership and the history of women representation in Rwandan parliament. The review reveals that women have often been left out of political offices but with the introduction of the quota system and the various national policies, there have been an increase in the amount of women participating in politics. However, the review indicates that women at the grassroots are still restricted. The study was conducted through a descriptive survey. Data was collected using questionnaires and from 25 women and 5men in Kicukiro. Respondents were randomly selected from people who live in the region. There was no limit to the ages of the respondents, however ages of respondents was between 22-65 for and 30-55 for men. The theoretical framework used for the study was the symbolic representation which measure the impact of women on other women in term political participation. Data was analyzed using a qualitative descriptive method. The study concluded that women’s marital status and educational level influence their participation in politics. Women are economically and culturally disadvantaged therefore that hinders their chances of ascending to political office Gender roles and public opinion limit women and prevent them from participating in politics. Women at the grassroots often organize around various co-operative societies to discuss women issues, however, these are not considered as making any political significance to the participation of women in politics at the grassroots. The study recommends that education should be encouraged for women at the grassroots. Economic empowerment programs and various organization critical for women’s participation. The study recommends the implementation of various policies at the grassroots level. The study also suggested possible areas of future research based on the findings.