Rwanda’s National Cabinet is Now Fifty Percent Women

By Shujaa Kwanzaa

Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Rwanda's head of Trade and Industry is one of Rwanda's 13 women cabinet members.

Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Rwanda’s head of Trade and Industry is one of Rwanda’s 13 women cabinet members.

According to international reports, in late October the central African nation of Rwanda announced that women would be making up 50 percent of its now 26-seat cabinet.

This happened just days after Ethiopia became one of the few countries in the world to introduce a “gender-balanced” cabinet.

The two African countries join a small number of countries around the world that have gender-balanced national cabinets. Most European nations do not have gender balanced cabinets.

Rwanda presently has sixty-one percent women in its parliament.

Canada formed the country’s first gender-equitable cabinet in 2015. Presently the United States (US) has not achieved such a balance.

According to reports earlier this year, the Trump administration touted the number of women he has appointed to senior-level positions on both his campaign and his administration. But within the U.S. leader’s cabinet, just over 27 percent of roles are held by women, with the cabinet composed of 16 men and six women.

That number is also lower than those of his more recent Democratic predecessors. Former President Barack Obama’s administration saw women occupy 30 percent of cabinet positions during his first term. That number rose to 35 percent in his second term.

Women in high-level cabinet positions within the Trump administration currently include Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel; Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was preceded by Elaine Duke, who served as acting secretary until Nielsen was confirmed as her replacement in December 2017; as well as United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao and Linda E. McMahon, administrator of the Small Business Administration.

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