Democracy and the Rise of Women's Movements in Sub-Saharan Africa

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JHU Press, Jul 2, 2008 - History - 168 pages
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Despite a late and fitful start, democracy in Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe has recently shown promising growth. Kathleen M. Fallon discusses the role of women and women's advocacy groups in furthering the democratic transformation of formerly autocratic states.

Using Ghana as a case study, Fallon examines the specific processes women are using to bring about political change. She assesses information gathered from interviews and surveys conducted in Ghana and assays the existing literature to provide a focused look at how women have become involved in the democratization of sub-Saharan nations. The narrative traces the history of democratic institutions in the region—from the imposition of male-dominated mechanisms by western states to latter-day reforms that reflect the active resurgence of women’s political power within many African cultures—to show how women have made significant recent political gains in Ghana and other emerging democracies.

Fallon attributes these advances to a combination of forces, including the decline of the authoritarian state and its attendant state-run women's organizations, newly formed constitutions, and newfound access to good-governance funding. She draws the study into the larger debate over gendered networks and democratic reform by exploring how gender roles affect and are affected by the state in Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

In demonstrating how women’s activism is evolving with and shaping democratization across the region, Democracy and the Rise of Women’s Movements in Sub-Saharan Africa reveals how women’s social movements are challenging the barriers created by colonization and dictatorships in Africa and beyond.

 

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Contents

1 Reclaiming Power
1
2 Queenmothers Colonization and the Struggle for Legitimacy
17
3 Democracy in Perspective
35
4 The Iron Fist
56
5 Capturing Democracy
75
6 Big Men Small Girls and the Politics of Power
95
7 Women on the Move
113
Appendix A Methods
127
Appendix B Survey Data
134
Notes
145
References
149
Index
163
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About the author (2008)

Kathleen M. Fallon is an associate professor of sociology at McGill University.

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