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Making and unmaking ethnicities in the Rwandan context: implication for gender-based violence, health, and wellbeing of women
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, The Hugo Valentin Centre. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Church and Mission studies, Science of Mission.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH). (Internationell sexuell och reproduktiv hälsa/Larsson)
2013 (English)In: Ethnicity and Health, ISSN 1355-7858, E-ISSN 1465-3419, Vol. 18, no 5, 469-482 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


To examine ethnicity and gender violence in Rwanda from cultural and historical perspectives and explore the encounters between cultural beliefs and practices and the new gender equality policy and programs and the implications of the particular encounters to the health of women.


The study is a qualitative drawing from the growing range of interactive approaches and methods within an ethnographic framework of the research design. Twenty individual interviews, six focus group discussions and two 'community mobilization' dialogs were conducted.


Violence has continued and there is a conflict between cultural tradition, the de-ethnicization, and gender equality policies. Some of the gender violence preventive programs are influenced by the ethos of the traditional norms, and therefore unwittingly perpetuate gender-based violence.


In spite of the progress that Rwanda has made in political empowerment of women, it still seems a long way before real gender equality is achieved. It seems that women's empowerment is not only just an opportunity for political participation but also this is important. It is also about the capacity to make effective choices and to translate them into desired actions and outcomes, unfettered by cultural sanctions. Universalised, top-down gender policy programs have not furnished all women with the necessary capacity to make decisions that affect their traditionally all important reproductive functions; to challenge the embedded gender imbalance; and to strive for a holistic wellbeing of their families, where they play a central role. Indeed, some of the policies could have negative implications to the health of women, in particular, with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and AIDS.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 18, no 5, 469-482 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Medical Ethics
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-208305DOI: 10.1080/13557858.2013.832012ISI: 000324512400003PubMedID: 23998330OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-208305DiVA: diva2:651827
Available from: 2013-09-27 Created: 2013-09-27 Last updated: 2013-11-25Bibliographically approved

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Kubai, AnneAhlberg, Beth Maina
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