Political parties and women’s political participation in Commonwealth Africa

Date: December 19, 2017
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Draft report on women’s political participation

Six case studies reveal women’s political participation in Commonwealth Africa.

Commitments to gender parity in politics are not new and countries plan to increase the number of female representatives. In 2005 under the Commonwealth Plan of Action countries committed themselves to a 30% threshold. In 1996 member countries were encouraged to achieve a target of no less than 30%.

Over 20 years after this, women’s participation continues to lag behind. Some countries in Sub Saharan Africa are above the world average. For the most part, however, women are under-represented in the majority of Commonwealth countries in Africa.

Less examined has been the role of political parties. They are gatekeepers that constrain or facilitate women’s participation. The Commonwealth commissioned research to try to understand the role of parties. Thus the repost focuses on six case countries that show more or less women’s participation.

Finally, the report recommends that the Commonwealth  encourages parties to be more receptive to women’s participation.



Author: M'Cormack- Hale, FAO
Publisher: Commonwealth Secretariat
Year of Publication: June 2017