n Gender and Behaviour - Gender and changing patterns of political participation in sub-Saharan Africa : evidence from five waves of the Afrobarometer surveys

Volume 12, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1596-9231



We used five waves of the Afrobarometer survey data to examine gender differences in political participation in the selected sub-Saharan Africa countries. The results showed that while the odds of voting have actually declined slightly over the time covered by the surveys, overall women were only about two-thirds as likely to vote as men with the gender gap in voting varying widely across countries and time. Also, the gender gap was narrowing by about 3.7% per survey round, with people in rural areas, more educated people, older people, employed people, people who belonged to a religious group, and people who expressed more interest in public affairs being more likely to vote. With regard to collective action, although it was increasing, the gender gap in collective action remained constant. In most regards, with its effects paralleling those for voting in that collective action was higher in rural areas, among older people, more educated people, people who were more interested in public affairs, poor people and members of religious groups. Results imply that civic education and other mechanisms are needed to encourage more female participation in all aspects of the political process.

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