Gender Identity Construction Through Traditional and Modern Lenses: Rwandan Narratives and MDGs Perspectives

Jean de Dieu Amini Ngabonziza, Emmanuel Sibomana, Epimaque Niyibizi, Irenée Ndayambaje


While there is an on-going debate about what constitutes current policies and practices on gender equality between men and women in Rwanda, there is general agreement that Rwandan traditional beliefs and cultural norms have produced a patriarchy ideology and unequal power relations between women and men. Such traditional beliefs are not only observed in Rwanda, but in different parts of the world as well; and it is still problematic to assess a framework in which current gender policies are redesigned to allocate equitable power between women and men. This study focuses on the analysis and comparison of issues of gender identity and power relations as embedded in the Rwandan short narratives and in the Millennium Development Goals on gender equality. More specifically, this study investigates the design and redesign of the issues related to power relations and their effect on gender identity conception and assumption. Analysed from Marxist theories of power and Thompson’s modes perspectives, the findings suggest that Rwandan traditional narratives view men as more powerful than women and the society expects more from men in terms of responsibilities. As for the Millennium Development Goals, they focus on women empowerment only and thereby create a new imbalance between men and women. The paper recommends equality in terms of a maleness and femaleness ideology from policy to legislation and other domains.

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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