Trends and pattern of women participation and representation in Africa
The debates, discussion and literature on women participation in developed and developing democracies has brought to the front burner the place of women in Africa’s emerging democracies. While much literature has looked at political participation of women in developed democracies, there is little information and knowledge of women participation across the African continent. Through the use of Varieties of Democracy data from 1900 to 2015, this paper presents a systematic investigation of the trends and pattern of women participation in Africa’s emerging democracies. Data on 5 African countries were used to show the trends and pattern. While the trend and pattern of women participation from 1900 to 1950 was very low, mainly caused by tradition, ignorance, colonialism, and lack of education, the data showed increased participation post 1950s which is positive in itself but that the upward trajectory has not been constant nor static. It swung between positive and negative due to several factors. This is attributable to environmental, socio-cultural and educational factors as well as internal political dynamics of each country. The paper concluded that even though women political participation started at different times for African women due to country specific factors, many, if not all African countries’ women march for participation and inclusion has been on upward swing.
Keywords: Political participation, Representation, Africa, Women