Rwandan Women Rising
Discussion Guide

How important is mentorship among women?

Students at a graduation ceremony at the Akilah Institute for Women.

Book Excerpts

“The way forward is hand in hand. Give a hand and get a hand.”

Cabinet minister Oda Gasinzigwa in Rwandan Women Rising, p. 354

“We did the frontline activism, but we forgot to build the next generation. That’s the key. When Aloisea Inyumba was appointed minister, she was not quite thirty! But if you ask a thirty-year-old today who isn’t part of the government, who isn’t part of anything, most will just tell you, ‘Oh, I believe women deserve their rights. Blah blah blah blah.’ But if you ask them, ‘Tell me a bit about how women’s voices in Rwanda came to be heard,’ they have no clue. They don’t know the history or why it’s important.

“First of all, we don’t document very well. But it’s more. The challenges were so immense when this got started. We didn’t have time to build the front line and then go back and build the incoming generation.”

 —Legal advisor and activist Justine Mbabazi in Rwandan Women Rising, p. 349

Discussion Questions

  • As women move forward, how can we be more mindful of the generations that follow? How can we ensure that they understand where we’ve come from so that they continue our work and legacy?
  • How can mentorship foster an environment where more women are targeting and achieving higher positions of leadership?
  • In what ways does mentorship help to destroy the sentiment that there is “only room for one woman at the top?”

June 2017 | Duke University Press