BOOK LAUNCH! Women & Power in Africa: Aspiring, Campaigning, and Governing

On Thursday, 4 May 2023, CGHR hosted a book talk discussing contents of the book “Women and Power in Africa“.

The book highlighted that over the past three decades, women’s political representation in African politics—as aspirants, candidates, and elected officials—has increased dramatically. However, this growth has not been uniform across the continent. In the absence of quotas, regular multiparty elections—including in regionally significant democracies like Ghana and Nigeria—have often failed to produce major improvements in women’s access to political power. Expensive election campaigns, party biases, conservative cultural norms, as well as political violence act as recurring barriers.

In Women and Power in Africa, editors Leonardo Arriola, Martha Johnson and Melanie Phillips brought together a wide range of contributors to examine how women participate in African politics in all phases of the election cycle—from party nominations to governance. Drawing on a wide range of cases—including Benin, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Namibia, Burkina Faso, and Uganda—the volume argued for the importance of “taking gender seriously and valuing women’s experiences as a source of empirical evidence [to] uncover invaluable information about how politics operate”.

During this book talk hosted by CGHR, Dr. Phillips and Dr. Johnson reflected on the overarching themes that emerged from the project, presented findings from their research on candidate selection in Zambia and women’s local-level participation in Benin and Malawi, and engaged with questions and reflections from participants.

by Saskia Brechenmacher