gender equality in political participation


As noted above, women have been historically marginalized in all areas including social, economic and political spheres.  Luckily, there is a growing recognition of the untapped capacity and talents of women and women’s leadership. From 1999-2009, the rate of women’s representation in national parliaments globally has grown from 13.1 percent at the end of 1999 to 18.6 percent at the end of 2009. Africa has particularly seen some dramatic increase in the number of women in parliament from 10.9 percent in 1999 to 17.6 percent in 2009.



It has been established that the development of any country requires the participation of both men and women.  There is global recognition that gender equality in political participation is a fundamental aspect of modern democratic governance. It is expected that both men and women should have equal rights and opportunities to participate fully in all aspects and at all levels of political processes. But in practice, women face challenges and the number of women in leadership and decision making positions is abysmally low. Meanwhile, it has been proven that countries with increased women’s participation in politics and leadership position tend to be more inclusive, egalitarian and democratic.

Scholars have pointed out that gender relations have made it difficult for one half of the population (women) to make significant contribution to development hence the need to understand gender and gender relations.