n Journal of African Elections - Transforming women's role in local government in Lesotho through a women's quota

Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



Lesotho introduced a quota for women in local government in 2005 amid different interpretations of the concept and the general preparations for elections. The phase II era of decentralisation, after the quota for women was introduced, was marked by the October 2011 local government elections. In both instances a deliberate effort was made to reserve one-third representation for women, though each time in a different way. This article analyses the way in which the government's efforts to use a legal framework to challenge traditional and patriarchal tendencies have evolved. It arguesthat while the introduction of a quota is a good development it was not properly institutionalised in 2005, nor have the changes introduced in 2011 improved the situation. The article argues that insufficient dialogue has led the government and civil society to miss a valuable opportunity to use a women's quota in local government to change women's political, social and economic status.

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