Women in Law: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Rebecca Mae Salokar; Mary L. Volcansek | Go to book overview

AGATHE UWILINGIYIMANA
(1953–1994)

The biography of Agathe Uwilingiyimana, Rwanda’s first woman prime minister, is as tragic as the recent history of the small African nation which she briefly led as head of government. At the same time, Uwilingiyimana’s relatively short political career was a triumph for women’s rights in Africa, if not for the idea of democracy itself in a politically fragile continent. Though she was prime minister for less than one year before being assassinated in an abortive coup attempt in April, 1994, her precedent-setting career is certainly noteworthy in African political history. Since her career was an attempt to transcend the entrenched boundaries of ethnic hatred in Rwanda, some mention must be made of the political context in which she worked and lived.


FAMILY BACKGROUND AND EDUCATION

The late prime minister’s family and educational background is somewhat sketchy. Agathe Uwilingiyimana, a Tutsi, was born to peasant farming parents in 1953, in the village of Nyaruhengeri, some 140 kilometers southeast of Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city. She taught high school science for ten years after earning a master’s degree in chemistry.1 In the African context, this achievement itself is quite extraordinary, since those with advanced scientific educations often leave the continent altogether or teach in the national universities. Uwilingiyimana was married to a university employee and had five children.2 Unfortunately, this is all the early background available.


CAREER DEVELOPMENT

It is difficult to appreciate Agathe Uwilingiyimana’s political career without an understanding of the conditions under which she worked, lived, and ulti-

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Women in Law: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Editorial Advisory Board vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Florence Ellinwood Allen (1884–1966) 17
  • Mary Arden (1947–) 25
  • Anita Augsburg (1857–1943) 31
  • Suzanne Bastid-Basdevant (1906–) 34
  • Miriam Ben-Porat (1918–) 38
  • Myra Bradwell (1831–1882) 45
  • Beverly Blair Cook (1927–) 51
  • Irene R. Cortes (1920–) 62
  • Takako Doi (1928–) 68
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933–) 78
  • Brenda Marjorie Hale (1945–) 88
  • Rosalyn Higgins (1937–) 94
  • Leonilde Iotti (1920–) 101
  • Barbara Charline Jordan (1936–1996) 112
  • Sylvie Kanigi (1953–) 118
  • Carrie Burnham Kilgore (1838–1909) 123
  • Helen Kinnear (1894–1970) 129
  • Claire L’Heureux-DubÉ (1927–) 136
  • Jutta Limbach (1934–) 144
  • Burnita Shelton Matthews (1894–1988) 150
  • Beverley McIachlin (1943–) 159
  • Soia Mentschikoff (1915–1984) 171
  • Constance Baker Motley (1921–) 180
  • Emily Ferguson Murphy (1868–1933) 190
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (1938–) 202
  • Sandra Day O’Connor (1930–) 210
  • Sadako Ogata (1927–) 219
  • Cecilia MuÑoz Palma (1913–) 231
  • Tamar Pelleg-Sryck (1926–) 237
  • Janet Reno (1938–) 248
  • Mary Robinson (1944–) 257
  • Flerida Ruth P. Romero (193?–) 266
  • Simone RozÈs-Ludwig (1920–) 271
  • Wiltraut Rupp-Von BrÜnneck (1912–1977) 277
  • Helga Seibert (1939–) 283
  • Elisabeth Selbert (1896–1986) 288
  • Margaret a. Somerville (1942–) 292
  • Helene StÖcker (1869–1943) 299
  • Helen Suzman (1917–) 304
  • Leah Tsemel (1945–) 312
  • Agathe Uwilingiyimana (1953–1994) 323
  • Simone Veil-Jacob (1927–) 329
  • Bertha Wilson (1923–) 338
  • Appendix 349
  • Selected Bibliography 353
  • Index 357
  • About the Editors and Contributors 371
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