Gendered Citizenship: South Africa’s Democratic Transition and the Construction of a Gendered State


Seidman, Gay W. 1999. “Gendered Citizenship: South Africa’s Democratic Transition and the Construction of a Gendered State.” Gender & Society 13 (3): 287-307.

Author: Gay W. Seidman


The tendency for abstract theorists of democratization to overlook gender dynamics is perhaps exacerbated in the South African case, where racial inequality is obviously key. Yet, attention to the processes through which South African activists inserted gender issues into discussions about how to construct new institutions provides an unusual prism through which to explore the gendered character of citizenship. After providing an explanation for the unusual prominence of gender concerns in South Africa's democratization, the article argues that during the drawn-out democratic transition, South African activists, often influenced by international feminist discussions, developed a collective definition of gender interests and began to build those interests into the structure of democratic institutions, in ways that will affect politics and the definition of “women's interests” in the future.

Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 1999

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