Whatever the other shortcomings of representative democracy, one issue that clearly remains largely unresolved is the participation and policy impact of women. This comparative study examines two African countries, South Africa and Uganda, both of which have attained greater women’s political participation than most African – or indeed Western – democracies.
How did women in these countries achieve some 30 per cent representation in both national and local political institutions? How far did women’s mobilization in civil society play a part? How sustainable are the gains? And what is the impact of women politicians on policy? In particular, this volume examines two litmus test pieces of legislation – around land in Uganda and gender violence in South Africa. What emerges is that the political routes to increased female participation vary and that the solidity of gains made depends much on the strength of the gender-equity lobby in society at large. Participation does not necessarily translate into effective policy influence.
The depth of analysis and sustained empirical inquiry in this volume casts a light on this complicated area of socio-political change, an essential comparative study when trying to understand the very different experiences of other countries in this regard.