What is happening for women in Rwanda is little short of revolutionary. Women occupy some of the most important government ministries and make up 56% of the country's parliamentarians, including the speaker.
Rwanda's women express astonishment at Britain's low female representation. By law in their country they must have at least 30% of the seats in government, including local government.
And it is not window dressing. "There used to be a lot of rapes, wife beating, male domination of women, boys sent to school and not girls," said Daphrose Nyirasafali, national programme officer for UNFPA, the UN's family planning and reproductive health organisation. "That has all changed, even in the countryside."
Women now have the right to own land and property. When they marry they can choose to pool their assets with their husband or they can keep them separate.
The divorce rate is increasing as a consequence of these changes. Inheritance laws have been passed so that a man's property is split equally between his wife and both female and male children.
Rape has been acknowledged as a very serious offence; there is a free police hotline and there are heavy jail sentences for perpetrators. Contraception has been made widely available. Women who want to stop having babies but whose husbands object are told it is their right to choose. Some attend clinics in secret for three-monthly injections.
Traditionally in Rwanda men and women had different roles, and separate domains, said Juliana Kantengwa, who trained as a vet, in exile in Uganda, and who is now a member of Rwanda's senate. "There were no-go areas, like drumming," she said. That was a male preserve. During opening ceremonies, teams of girls now drum with strength, enthusiasm and skill.
"In modern times they are happy. We see fathers encouraging their daughters to do engineering and get out of nursing. We have quite a number in the army and police force," added Kantengwa.
There are still issues. "Domestic violence is still prevalent – when [women] get more money than the man, there is that threat. And the majority of women who go into politics early don't get married – very few men make passes at them. But we have made great strides."
Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda's foreign minister, said no one should imagine Rwanda's women parliamentarians were a sign of "window dressing".
There are eight women ministers. "We have a lot of influence," Mushikiwabo said. "The president is present most of the time in our cabinet meetings. He encourages us to think out of the box and initiate policy. It's a very open forum. That's where all the major decisions for the country are made."
Rwanda's progress on women is admired elsewhere. This month the government convened an international forum on the role of leadership in gender equality and woman's empowerment, attracting women ministers, MPs and dignitaries from all over Africa and beyond, including the Tanzanian UN deputy secretary general, Asha-Rose Migiro. "I salute you for bringing gender and equality to the heart of the political process," she told the forum in the Rwandan parliament.