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Women in African Parliaments

Gretchen Bauer and Hannah E. Britton, editors
Women in African Parliaments
ISBN: 978-1-58826-427-5
ISBN: 978-1-62637-125-5
2006/237 pages/LC: 2005018517

“A very welcome, interesting, and readable book.”—Eileen Connolly, Review of African Political Economy

"Bauer and Britton's terrific collection of essays probes the current paradox of a region in which women are relatively quite well represented in parliament even as their social status remains lamentable."—Nicolas van de Walle, Foreign Affairs

"A thoughtful analysis of the factors conducive to women's participation in Africa's legislatures and what impact women actually have on policies.... well researched, well written."—April A. Gordon, Winthrop University

"Women in African Parliaments explores a topic of tremendous importance. The insights and lessons of the case studies reveal a fascinating political story not only for those who study Africa, but for scholars of legislatures, gender, and politics in pgeneral."—Karen Ferree, University of California, San Diego


Working together across religious, ethnic, and class divisions, African women are helping to formulate legislation and foster democracies more inclusive of womens' interests. Women in African Parliaments explores this phenomenon, examining the impact and experiences of African women as they seek increased representation in national legislatures.

The authors' carefully constructed case studies allow cross-national comparisons of the range of strategies that African women have used to achieve greater involvement in national politics. A unique feature of the work is the voices of African women themselves, who explain how they achieved or continue to fight for electoral success, how they learned to work with lifelong adversaries, and how they have begun to transform their parliaments.


Gretchen Bauer is professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. Her publications include Politics in Southern Africa: State and Society in Transition and Labor and Democracy in Namibia: 1971-1996. Hannah E. Britton is associate professor of women's studies and political science at the University of Kansas. She is author of Women in the South African Parliament: From Resistance to Governance.


  • Women in African Parliaments: A Continental Shift?—the Editors.
  • Mozambique: Empowering Women Through Family Law—J.L. Disney.
  • South Africa: Mainstreaming Gender in a New Democracy—H.E. Britton.
  • Namibia: Losing Ground Without Mandatory Quotas—G. Bauer.
  • Uganda: Agents of Change for Women's Advancement?—A.M. Tripp.
  • Rwanda: Achieving Equality or Serving an Authoritarian State?—T. Longman.
  • Senegal: Contending with Religious Constraints—L. Creevey.
  • The Virtuous Circle of Representation: Women in African Parliaments—S. Hassim.
  • Appendix: Interviews with Four African Women Parliamentarians.