Legislative Quotas for Women: Implications for Governance in Africa
Today, women in some African countries have the highest rates of representation in legislatures in the world. Rwanda, for example, became the country with the highest female legislative representation in 2003, as the women of that country claimed 48.8 percent of parliamentary seats—surpassing even the Nordic countries. Other countries like Namibia, Uganda, Seychelles, South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland (only the upper house has 30 percent women) are at or exceed the 25 percent mark in female legislative representation. These represent significant increases in the presence of women in these bodies, especially between 1990 and 2005 when the numbers increased from an average of 8 percent to 14.5 percent. In part, this can be attributed to the increased use of legislative quotas for women. In many countries, women’s rights activists are currently debating the introduction of quotas, some with the intent of increasing women’s representation to 50 percent.
KeywordsSouthern African Development Community African National Congress Electoral College Female Representation Parliamentary Seat
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