n Journal of African Union Studies - Quota systems and women political leadership development in Africa

Volume 3, Issue 2_3
  • ISSN : 2050-4292
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4306


Women in Africa have been limited in their leadership advancement due to, inter alia gender stereotyping. Although women often constitute a majority of the population in most African countries, significant barriers still exist barring or limiting their political leadership within their countries and communities. In 2005, the African Union (AU) called for 50% representation of women at all levels of political decision-making positions by 2015 (Yoon, 2011a). Several African countries, most notably Rwanda, Uganda, Namibia and South Africa, have made use of quota systems to ensure the representation of women in governance structures (Burnett, 2008). This article argues that quota systems have helped women in their political leadership development in Africa, despite any gendered conceptions societies hold about women in positions of leadership. In addition, gender quotas have improved the political and social agency of women in countries where women hold significant leadership positions in government (Bauer and Barnett, 2013). To prove the thesis, the contribution will identify and make mention of various African countries which have made extensive use of quota systems to increase women's political participation.

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