The Politics of Autonomy and Cooptation in Africa: The Case of the Ugandan Women’s Movement


Tripp, Aili Mari. 2001. “The Politics of Autonomy and Cooptation in Africa: The Case of the Ugandan Women’s Movement.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 39 (1): 101-28.

Author: Aili Mari Tripp


State responsiveness to pressures from women's movements in Africa has been limited. However, where inroads have been made, associational autonomy from the state and dominant party has proved critical. The women's movement is one of the most coordinated and active social movements in Uganda, and one of the most effective women's movements in Africa more generally. An important part of its success comes from the fact that it is relatively autonomous, unlike women's movements in earlier periods of Uganda's post-independence history. The women's movement, in spite of enormous pressures for cooptation, has taken advantage of the political space afforded by the semi-authoritarian Museveni government, which has promoted women's leadership to serve its own ends. Leaders and organisations reflect varying degrees of autonomy and cooptation. Nevertheless the women's movement has had a visible impact on policy as a result of its capacity to set its own far-reaching agenda and freely select its own leaders.

Topics: Gender, Women, Political Participation Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2001

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