Title page for ETD etd-08052008-113631

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Kamlongera, Alinane Priscilla
Email nanecece@hotmail.com
URN etd-08052008-113631
Document Title Malawian women's political participation : a sociological analysis
Degree MSocSci
Department Sociology
Advisor Name Title
Prof K Naidoo Supervisor
  • women
  • gender inequality
  • musculine domain
  • state politics
Date 2008-04-17
Availability restricted

Malawian women participate in state politics – but not to the extent that they could. Formal state politics is represented as a masculine domain, and only a small minority of women find space within this sphere. In seeking to explore reasons why this is the case, a qualitative study was conducted. Fifteen women from the areas of Zomba, Lilongwe and Blantyre, who have been active in state politics over the years, offered in-depth insights into the limits and constraints inhibiting women’s involvement in politics. In general the women cited the constraints of cultural beliefs, socialisation processes, a lack of support amongst women themselves, low economic and educational statuses and generally negative attitudes towards women’s involvement in politics, which taken together weave a larger context that keeps women in positions of subordination. Notwithstanding such constraints, the few women who are active in politics are displaying much resilience and agency, and refer to themselves as driven and committed to serve developmental and public projects. Whilst policy guidelines encourage women’s political participation, societal impediments mean that political parties do not actively encourage women to get involved or stand as candidates. This study contributes to a growing body of literature on gender and women’s lives in the African context and to case studies revealing women’s efforts to empower themselves despite the negative effects of stereotyping, discrimination and gender inequality in patriarchal society.

© University of Pretoria 2007

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