Essay on Lack of Women Holding Office in Sub-Saharan African Politics

1079 Words 5 Pages
While women make up a majority of the population in Africa, the number of representatives of women in parliament is substantially less than men. The underrepresentation of women in politics is problematic because the empowerment of women and the development of a society relies on the success of maintaining gender equity. Though this is an international issue, I plan to focus on representation of women in politics in sub-Saharan Africa. I hope to explore why the percentage of women in politics is smaller than that of men and how this affects gender equity. Fortunately, representation is improving at a steady rate and I will explain the factors that are contributing to this increase.
The lack of women that hold office in Sub-Saharan African politics can be explained by exploring the historical context of the role of women in society. During the 1990s, women were reluctant to run for office because they were constantly faced with hostility in order to discourage their participation in political spheres (Goetz, 1998). Women distanced themselves from participating in politics due to the fear of violence and experiences of corruption that plagued past Sub-Saharan African governments. (Goetz, 1998). Women who have held positions in parliament have said that they were often the targets of physical attacks from members of their communities who held sexist beliefs that stemmed from the community’s cultural prohibitions on women who speak in public places in the presence of men…