n Conflict Trends - Gender equality and women's empowerment through political parties : Africa's record in democracy-building

Volume 2013, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


The existing literature on Africa's decolonisation struggles tends to pay fairly cursory attention to the contribution of women in the liberation movements' struggle for freedom, and as political leaders in their own right in the post-colonial democracy-building experience. Reference to women's contributions also does not quite capture the challenges and realities facing women. This article argues that political parties can be a useful vehicle through which the bane of gender inequality occasioned by social and cultural practices and perpetuated by the limitations of the historiography of African politics can be addressed better. It is in political parties where an ideal understanding that "politics and political parties are not only a male game but for both genders" should be inculcated. In what follows, the history of political parties in Africa is briefly addressed, after which the participation, particularly of women, in political parties as they contribute to the democratisation process, is examined. Is women's participation equal to their male counterparts and if not, what are the grey areas? The article concludes with recommendations.

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