Representation Without Participation: Dilemmas of Quotas for Women in Post-apartheid South Africa


Myeni, Sithembiso. 2014. " Representation Without Participation: Dilemmas of Quotas for Women in Post-apartheid South Africa." African Journal of Governance & Development 3 (2): 56-78.

Author: Sithembiso Myeni


This article provides a sketch of ways in which ‘formal’ institutions of democratic representation work in practice for women in South Africa (SA). In doing so, the state of women’s participation and representation in the political process in SA is explored. Available data substantiates that women’s organisations and women’s wings of political parties have influenced the Government of SA and political parties to introduce quotas for women. Although quotas have increased the descriptive representation of women in political arenas, their representation in the decision-making process has not yet been ensured. Women face several social, cultural and political challenges that hinder their participation, and are still neglected by their male counterparts. Election of women councillors does not resolve a series of dilemmas concerning how to institutionalise democratic representation within a racially diverse, spatially divided and rapidly changing political landscape in SA.

Keywords: women, participation, representation, government, quota

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

Year: 2014

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