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Lecture

POLI 3311 Lecture Notes - Marxist Feminism, Postmodern Feminism, Band-Aid


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 3311
Professor
Peter Arthur

Page:
of 4
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Women and Development:
-Four conditions of African women:
-Overall political and economic conditions in African make life difficult for women
and men but women are doubly oppressed
-African societies and gender roles are highly diverse (difficult to generalize)
-Class as well as gender influence status of women
-Treatment of women in African reflects indigenous, pre-colonial and European
influences
-Gordon suggests trajectory that women will lose status in sub-Saharan societies,
subordination will continue unless women make a concerted effort to change the status
quo
-Imposition of European patriarchy in the former colonized regions of Africa is largely
responsible for modern say subordination of Africa
-Precolonial history of sub-Saharan African is ambiguous, little written records
-Modern historical accounts are often generalized and inaccurate
-Women in pre-colonial Africa were producers, respected as child-bearers, greater
autonomy; respected for contributions to society
-Colonial Legacy: European imposition of patriarchy, commercialization of agriculture
served as a detriment to women, women remaining the in rural regions growing food
crops, while men went to the towns to farm commercially
-African gender relations were disrupted to assist European endeavors
-Women suffered economically and politically under colonization, and this continues
today
-Post Independence Period:
-Social structure imposed by colonies continue in Africa
-Independent African nations are largely modeled on their “colonial
predecessors”
-Gender roles based on the European model
-Women lack legal rights
Women in Nigeria (Agbalajobi):
-Women make up half of Nigerian population
-Not given recognition and largely discriminated against
-Very prevalent in politics, women excluded and underrepresented
Reasons for discrimination:
-Cultural beliefs, religious/traditional practices, patriarchy
-Culture creating gender
-Colonialism; introduced Western male superiority, social structure
-Patriarchy
-Physical and biological differences
-Low level of political interest, knowledge and activity; due to education/knowledge
Further Problems:
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
-Assumes no barriers to women’s participation
-Women are not aware of their rights and the rules protecting these rights
-If women were aware of their under-representation in government, they would be more
likely to vote for women running for office
Existing System
-Democracy an elusive concept
-Participation vs Representation
-Chapman (1993): When women compete with men for access to polticial power, they
do so on the terms already established by men for competition among themselves (76)
-The success of women cannot be achieved within a system without displacing of
replacing the existing elite (76)
Nigerian Politics
-1979 Nigerian constitution guaranteed rights of women to participate in government
-But did not ensure equal representation
-In practice much discrimination and few women
-Nigerian politics turbulent, forceful, violent
Factors Against Women
-Do what men do to succeed
-Money for political campaigns
-Social expectations for women
Possible Solutions
-Affirmative action
-Women’s groups, women’s empowerment groups
-Form of Nigerian Women in Politics
-UN declarations and conventions
-CEDAW - International bill of rights for women
-Beijing Conference 1995
-Quotas, education
-Support networks and prospective role models
-Building a coalition of NGOs and grassroots women associations
Current Status of Women in Nigerian Politics
Rwanda: first country in the world where women outnumber men in politics,
constitutional guarantees. Quota for minimum 30% female MPs
Critiques
-Social roles “make women overplay their femininity by accepting that they are weaker
sexes”
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
-Women as political activists
Strategies for Women’s Political Empowerment in Africa (Longwe)
-Average proportion of women in parliament in African is 8.7% - average (ex. Rwanda
~56%, Ghana 7.9%)
-Reasons believed to cause women’s low levels of participation:
-Low levels of literacy, education, self-confidence
-Unassertive
-Lack leadership qualities, inactive at the grassroots levels of politics
-Little to no evidence that education and self-confidence will lead to political
empowerment
-“Struggle for women’s empowerment is not about gaining access to resources or
pushing women into positions of power, but to use the positions of power to release
Africa women from their present subordination and servitude”
-Women have to control the access to important resources to effectively increase
collective access
- Must end discriminatory practices
-It is not that women are lacking in some way, but rather that there is evidence of
gender discrimination: effects of socialization, socially acceptable roles
-Opposition from men:
-Male domination of official part posts
-Compartmentalization of women’s politics
-Sexual harassment
-Not women’s increased access to resources (won’t necessarily lead to increased
political participation)
-Patriarchal government is the main obstacle
-Coalition of women’s organizations
-Regional campaigns for gender issues: Violation of women’s human rights, exploit
ideological contradiction
-Common concern
-Legislative of party-based quotas to ensure a minimum number of women elected into
parliament
-National programs for ‘women’s advancement’ concentrate on ‘softer’ areas of policy
Critiques:
-Not much mention of the significance of quotas in effecting change
-Issue of weak democracies: solutions for women in authoritarian governments?
-Doesn’t establish the ways for which these women’s groups should actually come to
together under the common issue
-Methodological issues: evidence personal, specific to Zambia