Ruling Out Gender Equality? The Post-Cold War Rule of Law Agenda in Sub-Saharan Africa


Nyamu-Musembi, Celestine. 2006. “Ruling Out Gender Equality? The Post-Cold War Rule of Law Agenda in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Third World Quarterly 27 (7): 1193-207.

Author: Celestine Nyamu-Musembi


The post-cold war rule of law agenda in sub-Saharan Africa has not translated into reforms that enhance gender equality. The focus of reform efforts has reflected a post-cold war emphasis on creating a suitable legal and institutional environment for the market. In this climate any gains for gender equality have been limited and hard won. The main shortcomings are: gains in constitutional rights have had limited practical reach; official discussion of gender inequality in property remains disconnected from relevant broader processes such as restructuring of financial institutions; the reform agenda has not engaged with informal institutions, yet these have significant impact on gender relations; there has been relative under-investment in non-commercial judicial reform; and changes to labour regulation have been effected through sub-legislative and non-transparent processes and have not been interrogated for their failure to benefit workers in general, and in sectors dominated by women in particular.

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Constitutions, International Law Regions: Africa

Year: 2006

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