Exploring the Gendered Politics of Securing Inclusive Development

This section explores women's representations and participation in political processes, institutions, and policy spaces. This responds to the Goetz and Hassim framework and tries to identify first, the overall levels of access, presence, and influence that women have in civil society, in the formal political arena and the state, and then the underlying reasons for this.

Gendered Politics: Women's Participation and Representation in Political Institutions and Processes

Women's participation and representation in politics are formally endorsed by the selected countries. Many of these countries have taken various measures to ensure women's access to the formal political arena. Compared to Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia performs badly as a region when it comes to women's representation in national parliament,11 local government, executive positions,[1] [2] and the state administration (UNIFEM 2008).

The increase in women's presence in national legislature and local government in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia is a result of the following: various affirmative action measures such as quotas and party lists, that make women's inclusion mandatory; support for women's representation among senior party leadership; strong women's wing and internal party advocates to lobby for women's political representation; and party ideology promoting gender equity. An increase in women's representation in elected bodies does not automatically enable women representatives to be politically effective. The support for and various other measures taken to increase women's presence in these elected bodies are largely a result of negotiations between different social and political actors. What influences the action taken by these actors are: the actual and perceived interests these actors have in promoting women's representation; the context within which opportunities for promoting women's representation arises; the strength of these actors to negotiate and influence other actors; and the gender discourses that influence actions of these actors.

  • [1] The average value in Latin America is 18% and sub-Saharan Africa is 16% and the highestfor both is 40% in some countries; in South Asia the average value is 15% and the highest is 34%in some countries (UNIFEM 2008).
  • [2] The average value of women in ministerial position in sub-Saharan Africa is 19% and thehighest value is 45%; the average value of women in ministerial positions in South Asia is 18%and the highest value is 20%, the average value for Latin America is 23% and the highest valueis 50% (UNIFEM 2008).
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >