‘Point of Order, Mr Speaker’: African Women Claiming their Space in Parliament
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At the close of the millennium, there is a wave of invigorating air sweeping across the African continent. The refreshing breeze can be felt in the form of women smashing the gendered 'glass ceiling' in a bid to overcome the cultural and structural barriers that impede their political careers. In this short article, I examine the relationship of African women to parliament. In the first section, I look at women's involvement in politics in pre-colonial Africa, and then examine the barriers to women's political activity thrown up by colonialism. This history explains much about women's absence from contemporary African national assemblies. I then focus on one state - Uganda - looking closely at the policy of affirmative action there, and the reality of male bias, prejudice, and sexual harassment that women MPs confront when they manage to enter parliament.
- Humanities and the Arts