n Journal of African Elections - Gender dynamics in elections in Africa




Gender, an important concept in African elections, has been largely ignored, yet the majority of voters tend to be women, while those who hold the authority and are elected to political positions are mostly men. This article examines the understanding of gender in the African context and analyses the underlying causes of the gender paradox. Using a multi- inter- and trans-disciplinary approach, the concept of gender is scrutinised within the election cycle. Findings about gender dynamics drawn from African nations showed that less than 30% of representatives in elected African parliaments are women. The reasons for this gender disparity appear to be deeply embedded in the historical and ideological traditions within the political, economic and social dimensions of Africa's development. The article ends with the identification of barriers to entry for women candidates in selected African countries. Strategies for transforming gender inequities in elections are discussed.


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