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Title:The political representation of women in totalitarian states: a case study of Eritrea
Author:Habtu, Tirhas T.
Periodical:Stichproben - Vienna Journal of African Studies (ISSN 1992-8610)
Geographic term:Eritrea
political participation
External link:http://stichproben.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/p_stichproben/Artikel/Nummer24/24_Habtu.pdf
Abstract:Over a decade after the Eritrean government started its crackdown on political opponents, journalists, university students etc., the political situation in Eritrea has deteriorated from bad to worse. If there were any hopes that international condemnations might result in improving the disastrous human rights situation in Eritrea, they now are completely dashed. Despite this, and the current totalitarian political atmosphere in the country, where neither dissenting views nor opposition political parties are tolerated, it has been argued the situation of women has shown considerable progress. Government officials and their supporters argue that unlike in other countries, where women have to wait decades, Eritrean women were automatically granted with their political rights as soon as independence was achieved in 1991; and that their political participation has increased dramatically in the post-independence period. Therefore, the aim of this article is to investigate (1) What the political representation of women would look like in a country where national elections are yet to take place; (2) Why are women still under-represented in higher decision-making positions in Eritrea? The author examines the policy of the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) with regard to women; and analyzes the representation of women in higher decision-making positions. In investigating these issues, the author applies both domestic and international theories to examine the factors that hinder or facilitate gender equality and the political representation and participation of women. In particular, it builds on theories that deal with why the political under-representation of women might matter and the theoretical arguments for parity between women and men in formal politics. Bibliogr., notes, ref. sum. [Journal abstract]