Strengthening the Spine of Democracy: How Women are Changing the Face of Sub-Saharan African Politics

By Kimberly S. Adams and Jenna Becker.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In contrast to other parts of the developing world, sub-Saharan Africa has made marked progress towards gender parity in national parliaments. Using data from as recent as May 2007, we examine cultural, socio-economic and political variations of the region in an effort to explain their increasing numbers of female representatives in parliament. Currently, Rwanda leads the world with 48.8 percent women in its lower chamber of parliament, while Comoros has 3.0 percent female percent representation in its parliament. This study identifies and measures political, socio-economic and cultural variables that affect the percentage of women in the national parliaments of 46 sub-Saharan African countries. Our findings indicate that cultural, socio-economic, and political forces all influence the percentage of women in sub-Saharan African parliaments. More specifically, our findings reveals that political quotas, the type of political quota, the percentage of females in the paid labor force, the year women gained suffrage, and religion, all impact the share of women in the parliaments of sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: Women in Sub-Saharan African Politics

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.121-134. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 614.761KB).

Dr. Kimberly S. Adams

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, East Stroudsburg, PA, USA

Dr. Kimberly S. Adams currently serves as Assistant Professor of Political Science at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. Her areas of teaching include American National Government, Women and Politics, Race and Ethnicity in American Politics, the Institutions of Government and Campaigns and Elections. She has presented academic papers on race and gender in legislative bodies at the state, national, and international levels. Her most recent article entitled “Different Faces, Different Priorities: Agenda- Setting Behavior in the Mississippi, Maryland, and Georgia State Legislatures,” was published in Nebula 4.2: A Journal of Multidisciplinary Scholarship in June 2007. Dr. Adams is the President and Managing Director of Adams Political Research and Consulting.

Jenna Becker

Graduate Student, Department of Political Science, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Jenna Becker is a graduate student in East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania's Political Science Department. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Justice Studies summa cum laude from Arizona State University and is currently working on her Master of Arts degree. Ms. Becker will begin her Doctoral studies in Political Studies in the Fall 2008.

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