CNN: Rwandan women make up 70% of the population, and are currently the economic backbone of this war-torn country. They are building small businesses and becoming entrepreneurs so that they can gain equality in Rwandan economy.
"Women...are the economic backbone of today's Rwanda. The 1994 genocide left behind a population 70 percent female and when the bloodshed stopped it was women who picked up the pieces and started to rebuild.
Today there are more women in Rwanda's parliament than any other country in the world. Laws have been passed so they can own land and wives can legally keep their assets separate from their husbands. All steps the government is taking to help Rwandese women gain an equal hand at politics and business.
Entrepreneur Joy Ndungutse is another woman who uses basket weaving to earn a living. It's a tradition passed on from mother to daughter in Rwanda and after the genocide it was the one skill women all over the country had in common. When the violence ended, Ndungutse gathered the wives of victims and killers, so they could weave together.This was not about a gift, this is not a donation, this is about putting women to work," Lundgren said. "Women who have been impacted, lost their families, their husbands, their sons to genocide. They had this skill and this was just translating that skill into a product that could be sold to create a living for these women.
You can see that the women are now thinking beyond only digging, cooking, staying home. They are now thinking like entrepreneurs," she said. Ndungutse wants women to leave her company to start their own businesses. But there are challenges. Many will need loans, and with high interest rates and Rwandan banks still dominated by men, startup money is still not easy to access."So now we are looking, how can we overcome that problem? We must have women in these financial institutions who can understand these problems," she said."