No Shortcuts to Power: Constraints on Women's Political Effectiveness in Uganda


Goetz, Anne-Marie. 2002. "No Shortcuts to Power: Constraints on Women's Political Effectiveness in Uganda." Journal of Modern African Studies 40 (4): 549-575.

Author: Anne-Marie Goetz


Numbers of women in public representative office have increased dramatically in Uganda since the introduction of the National Resistance Movement's 'no party' system, because affirmative action measures have been taken to reserve seats for them in Parliament and local government. This article offers an assessment of the impact of these measureson women's political effectiveness, examining how far women in Parliament have been able to advance gender equity concerns in key new legislation. The article suggests that the political value of specially created new seats has been eroded by their exploitation as currency for the NRM's patronage system, undermining women's effectiveness as representatives of women's interests once in office. This is because the gate-keepers of access to reserved political space are not the women's movement, or even women voters, but Movement elites. The women's movement in Uganda, though a beneficiary of the NRM's patronage, has become increasingly critical of the deepening authoritarianism of the NRM, pointing out that the lack of internal democracy in the Movement accounts for its failure to follow constitutional commitments to gender equity through to changes in key new pieces of legislation affecting women's rights.

Keywords: affirmative action, political corruption, quotas, political representation, democracy

Topics: Corruption, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Quotas, Political Participation Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2002

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