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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Changing women's exclusion from politics: examples from southern Africa
Author:Gouws, AmandaISNI
Periodical:African and Asian Studies
Geographic term:Southern Africa
Subjects:gender inequality
government policy
parliamentary representation
women's organizations
External link:https://doi.org/10.1163/156921008X359650
Abstract:The struggle for women's inclusion in politics in southern Africa has taken different shapes such as struggles for representation in government, the creation of structures in the State, often called women's gender machineries (as a form of State feminism) as well as activism outside the State through women's movements. The politics of institutionalization became the main strategy that women pursued since the 1980s to ensure women's representation. This article analyses different dimensions of institutional politics, such as women's representation in government and State structures such as national gender machineries, as well as the impact that institutionalization has had on women's organizations. To improve women's representation in government the acceptance of quotas to increase the number of women in legislatures has made a difference, but it is still unclear if women's presence leads to power and policy influence. National gender machineries have not really changed conditions of inequality due to their cooptation by the State and their general dysfunctionality. The reliance on institutional politics has led to a fragmentation and in some cases a demobilization of women's movements that has a negative effect on keeping governments accountable for women's equality. The author concludes by arguing that direct action should shift to the transnational level, where feminist solidarity on that level can lead to changes on a local level. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]