The Impact of Women’s Political Leadership on Democracy and Development

Case Studies from the Commonwealth

Paperback: £30.00

The Impact of Women’s Political Leadership on Democracy and Development

Publication date: 6 December 2013
Size: 240mm x 165mm
ISBN: 978-1-84929-109-5
Pages: 90

Women’s minimal leadership role in national and local political spheres remains a serious concern worldwide. The Commonwealth Gender Plan of Action for Gender Equality 2005–2015 calls on governments to introduce measures to promote at least 30 per cent representation of women in parliament, government and business.

The Impact of Women’s Political Leadership on Democracy and Development describes the barriers to women’s political participation and explains why the contribution of women is so crucial to democracy. It identifies established strategies – electoral reform (New Zealand), party voluntary quotas (South Africa), and legislative quotas (Bangladesh and India) – that have helped these Commonwealth countries to meet the global target of 30 per cent and thus to effectively advance the participation of women in decision-making at all levels.

ContentsExpand or collapse me
About the contributors
List of tables, figures and boxes
Abbreviations and acronyms

1. Women’s Political Participation in the Commonwealth: Issues and Challenges
1.1 Challenges to women’s effective participation in politics
1.2 Electoral systems favourable to women’s participation
1.3 Quotas and electoral systems
1.4 Rationale for the publication

2. The Impact of Women’s Political Leadership on Democracy and Development in South Africa by Colleen Lowe Morna and Mukayi Makaya-Magarangoma
2.1 Introduction
2.2 What keeps women out of politics?
2.2.1 Social and cultural factors
2.2.2 The private–public dichotomy
2.2.3 Public scepticism and hostility
2.2.4 The media
2.2.5 Institutional factors
2.2.6 Lack of support from political parties
2.2.7 Political party allegiance
2.3 Why should women be in politics?
2.3.1 Equity
2.3.2 Efficacy
2.4 Conceptual framework
2.4.1 Access and ‘critical mass’
2.4.2 Measuring women’s access to decision-making in South Africa
2.4.3 Electoral systems
2.4.4 Pressure for a legislated quota
2.5 Participation
2.5.1 Numbers matter!
2.5.2 Positions occupied by women within political decision-making
2.5.3 Political parties
2.5.4 Top leadership
2.5.5 Parliament
2.5.6 Diplomacy
2.5.7 Premierships
2.5.8 Gender benders in parliament and cabinet
2.5.9 Support structures
2.5.10 Effective participation: women finding their voice
2.6 Transformation
2.6.1 Institutional change
2.6.2 Women’s agency
2.6.3 Men taking up gender causes
2.7 Changes in policies and laws
2.8 Changing lives through service delivery
2.9 Challenges
2.10 Lessons for the Commonwealth
2.11 Conclusions
References and bibliography

3. Impact of Women’s Political Leadership on Democracy and Development in New Zealand by Margaret Wilson
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Ideological and historical propellants of women’s political advancement
3.3 Emergence of constitutional context of women’s inclusion in politics
3.3.1 Flexibility of laws advantages women’s entry into political process
3.3.2 Opportunities to effect change through constitutional arrangements and electoral reform
3.4 A case study of women’s influence within a political party
3.4.1 Ruling Labour Party champions the inclusion of women in politics
3.4.2 The feminist agenda in advancing women’s political participation
3.4.3 Adoption of MMP increases women’s representation in parliament
3.4.4 Institutionalisation of a women’s policy influences adoption of international laws
3.5 Impact of women’s political leadership on development and positions of authority
3.5.1 Women’s contribution to economic and social development in New Zealand
3.5.2 Analysing the status of Maori women in politics and society
3.6 Impact of women’s political leadership on legal and public sector reform
3.6.1 Women human rights-centred legal reforms in New Zealand
3.6.2 Women’s leadership and public sector reform
3.6.3 Strengthening policy for women’s leadership positions
3.6.4 Legal definition of equality to promote women
3.7 International measures of women’s current participation in public life
3.8 Conclusion

4. Women’s Participation in Local Governments in Bangladesh and India by Farah Deeba Chowdhury
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Bangladesh
4.2.1 Women in national politics
4.2.2 Women in local government: important contribution of women in local councils
4.2.3 Challenges experienced by women in Union Parishads
4.3 India
4.3.1 Women in national politics
4.3.2 Women in local government
4.4 Conclusion

5. Conclusion: The Impact of Women as Transformative Leaders
5.1 Positive attributes of the impact of women’s leadership
5.2 Way forward
About the contributors Expand or collapse me

Farah Deeba Chowdhury (Contributions by)

Farah Deeba Chowdhury is Associate Professor (on leave) of Political Science at the University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh. She specialises in the areas of women and Islam, women and politics, women and work, and women in law and society. She recently completed her PhD at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. She is Adjunct Faculty lecturer at the Department of Gender Studies, Queen’s University, Canada.

Margaret Wilson (Contributions by)

Margaret Wilson served as the first woman Speaker at the New Zealand House of Representatives from 2005–2008, and was the first woman Law Dean and Professor of Law in New Zealand. She is currently a Professor of Law and Public Policy at University of Waikato.

Colleen Lowe Morna (Contributions by)

Colleen Lowe Morna is the Founder and Executive Director of Gender Links in Johannesburg, South Africa. She was the Advisor on gender and institutional development for the Commonwealth special assistance programme to South Africa from 1994–1999. She subsequently served as the founding CEO of the South African Commission on Gender Equality.

Mukayi Makaya Magarangom (Contributions by)

Mukayi Makaya Magarangoma is GL Services Manager. She formerly worked at the Southern Africa Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC).