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Women as political actors : formal criteria and informal dynamics in electing women councillors in Niger

Document type: report
Download file(s): 115688 (354 KB)
Abstract: Women stood for the municipal council elections in Niger in 2004. This is important, because women councillors are often seen as the ones who could challenge the existing patriarchal elite. The representation of women councillors in the five municipal councils confirms the fact that within the decentralization process women have better access to local politics, in this case municipal councils. The quota system is indeed an enabling minimum, a stepping stone for women who want to enter politics. In this case the quota system is not just tokenism. The research also demonstrates how the women used predominantly informal dynamics in their campaigns and exploited their access to the private domain of voters and their various networks as a major source for support. But the study also illustrates the ambivalence in the positions of the women. They have to balance meeting the expectations of the political party and the expectations of the supporters who voted for them. When the women councillors want to put women’s interests on the political agenda and also create space to pursue their political career, they have to face up to the existing power relations in their communities, where patriarchal norms dominate the public and political scene.
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Conference Of the African Studies Association of the UK 5ASAUK) London: 11-13 September 2006-10-20
Authors: Tegels, J. , Abdou, M.
Series Title: SNV publications
Country: Niger
Category: Research
Serial number: H0702-04
Keywords: decentralization , democratisation , women , gender
Language: eng
Organization: SNV - Netherlands Development Organisation
PAGE: 24
Place: The Hague
Publisher: SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
Year: 2007
Region: Africa South of Sahara , West Africa
Right: © 2007 SNV
Subject: Social and Political Change
Title: Women as political actors : formal criteria and informal dynamics in electing women councillors in Niger