Women entered the political scene in Africa after the 1990s, claiming more than one third of the parliamentary seats in countries like Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi. Women in Rwanda hold the highest percentage of legislative seats in the world. Women's movements lobbied for constitutional reforms and new legislation to expand women's rights. This book examines the convergence of factors behind these dramatic developments, including the emergence of autonomous women's movements, changes in international and regional norms regarding women's rights and representation, the availability of new resources to advance women's status, and the end of civil conflict. The book focuses on the cases of Cameroon, Uganda, and Mozambique, situating these countries in the broader African context. The authors provide a fascinating analysis of the way in which women are transforming the political landscape in Africa.
Isabel Casimiro is the coordinator of the Department of Women and Gender Studies at the Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, Mozambique. She also coordinates the Woman's Program at the university's Center of African Studies and was formerly a member of parliament in Mozambique. She is author of Paz na Terra, Guerra em Casa: Feminismo e Organizacoes de Mulheres em Mocambique (2004) and other works related to the women's movement in Mozambique. Joy Kwesiga is Vice Chancellor of Kabale University and former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Makerere University. She is the author of Women's Access to Higher Education in Africa: Uganda's Experience (2002) and co-edited The Women's Movement in Uganda (2002) with Aili Tripp. Kwesiga was also a founding member of one of the leading women's rights organizations in Uganda, Action for Development (ACFODE). Alice Mungwa is Senior Political Affairs Officer of the African Union Observer Mission to the United Nations. Prior to that she served as Senior Political Officer of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Previously, Mungwa worked as a program officer for gender and development with the Africa Leadership Forum in Nigeria and with a Cameroonian women's NGO. Aili Mari Tripp is Professor of Political Science and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her publications include Changing the Rules: The Politics of Liberalization and the Urban Informal Economy in Tanzania (1997), Women and Politics in Uganda (2000), several co-edited volumes, and numerous scholarly articles. Women and Politics in Uganda won the 2001 Victoria Schuck Award of the American Political Science Association for best book on women and politics in 2000 and a 2001 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award.
1. Introduction; 2. Historic influences on contemporary women's movements; 3. The rise of the new women's movements; 4. The challenge of new women's movements; 5. Women's movements and constitutional and legislative challenges; 6. In pursuit of equal political representation; 7. Engendering the state bureaucracy; 8. Women's movements negotiating peace; 9. Conclusions.