Rwandan Women Rising
Discussion Guide

How do “women’s issues” relate to overall security?

The Taba sisters were united by the trauma they experienced during the genocide, but, finding one another, were able to heal together.

Book Excerpt

However appealing the dream, traditional security is an entrenched sphere, and it’s hard for women to break in. Including them is a matter of political and social will, but the more that women use their leadership in government to insert themselves into peace processes, the more the security culture will change, and the more other women will want to follow…The question is whether policy makers will respond to their ideas with a paternalistic sigh, like the general with whom [Swanee Hunt] met at the end of the initial U.S. “shock and awe” bombing of Baghdad. When [she] urged that he broaden his search for “future leaders of Iraq,” which had yielded hundreds of men and only seven women, he said patiently, “Madame Ambassador, thank you so much for your time. And let me assure you, we’ll address women’s issues after we get the place secure.”

—Rwandan Women Rising, p. 366

Discussion Questions

  • Are “women’s issues” secondary to physical security?
  • Should (can) security issues be addressed in tandem, or must one necessarily come before the other?

June 2017 | Duke University Press