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Gendered vulnerabilities after genocide: Three essays on post-conflict Rwanda

Catherine Ruth Finnoff, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation addresses gendered vulnerabilities after the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda. It consists of three essays, each focusing on the experience of women in a particular aspect of post-conflict development. The first essay analyzes trends in poverty and inequality in Rwanda from 2000 to 2005. The chapter identifies four important correlates of consumption income: gender, human capital, assets, and geography, and examines their salience in determining the poverty of a household and its position in the income distribution. The second essay is an econometric examination of an important health insurance scheme initiated in post-conflict Rwanda. Employing logistic regression techniques, I find systematically lower membership among female-headed households in the community-based health insurance scheme in Rwanda. This finding contravenes other empirical studies on community-based health insurance in Africa that found higher uptake by female-headed households. Female-headed households are just as likely to access health care, implying greater out-of-pocket expenditures on health. They report worse health status compared to their male counterparts. The third essay examines the prevalence and correlates of intimate partner violence, based on household-level data from the Demographic and Health Survey conducted in Rwanda in 2005. Three results stand out. First, there are significant differences in the prevalence of three different types of gendered violence: physical, emotional and sexual violence. Second, women who are employed but whose husbands are not experience more sexual violence, not less, as would be expected in conventional household bargaining models. This can be interpreted as reflecting ‘male backlash’ as gender norms are destabilized. Finally, there is a strong inter-district correlation between the post-conflict prevalence of sexual violence and the intensity of political violence during the genocide. The findings of the dissertation support its underlying premise: that looking at economic processes through a gendered lens, and recognizing that women face social, historical and institutional constraints that are ignored in much standard economic theorizing, affords important insights into social processes and development outcomes.

Subject Area

Womens studies|Economics|Gender studies

Recommended Citation

Finnoff, Catherine Ruth, "Gendered vulnerabilities after genocide: Three essays on post-conflict Rwanda" (2010). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3427525.