Cracks in the edifice : critical african feminist perspectives on women and governance
DAWN, a global organisation of Southern activist feminists and scholars started in 1984,seeks to develop a critical feminist perspective on development alternatives and systematic critique of the dominant growth modelof development,concern was to address the impact of the global economy and the changing economic order on the role of the state and its capacity to deliver gender justice. During the four decades since the declaration of the UN Decade for women(1975- 1985), African governments have experimented with a variety of gender focused structures and institutions- machineries, commissions, gender ministries, departments and gender desks- all set up to promote women‘s rights empowerment and welfare, minimal progress has been made. Instead, it is becoming increasingly clear that democratic culture, values and norms that can advance gender equality and social justice are lacking, and that more transformational approaches are required to ensure political accountability and responsiveness to women and other disadvantaged groups. It is also becoming increasingly clear that women‘s mere presence in political institutions does not necessarily translate into power and influence in political governance. As the cases of Rwanda, South Africa, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi demonstrate, the emerging challenge in respect to women‘s participation in formal (State) political governance is being in power but without having and/or exercising power. On the other hand, as the Kenyan case demonstrates, women have learnt to utilize political spaces outside the State as alternative avenues of participating in governance.
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