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Title:Women in Politics in Zambia: What Difference Has Democracy Made?
Authors:Ferguson, Anne E.
Katundu, Beatrice L.
Periodical:African Rural and Urban Studies
Geographic term:Zambia
Women's Issues
Politics and Government
Abstract:This paper presents some preliminary findings on how women are faring as a result of Zambia's political transition from a single-party State to a multiparty 'democracy'. It describes a study underway since 1994 based on in-depth interviews with 17 women elected or appointed to high political office since the 1991 elections. The study suggests that the powerful gatekeeping role of women's wings of political parties may be declining in importance, thus allowing for the representation in politics and government of women with more diverse interests. The study also draws attention to the persistent gender discrimination faced by women in politics. This bias is reinforced by a constitution and a legal code that deny women equal rights with men in areas of family law, maintenance and inheritance, and thus contribute to making participation in politics costly for many women. Finally, the study examines to what extent the women interviewed are aware of the gender implications of policy formulation by focusing on their support for, and understanding of, the impacts of the government's major economic reform policies. While those interviewed were most aware of the negative economic impacts of structural adjustment programmes for women, some also drew attention to the potential political ramifications of these economic reform policies. Bibliogr., notes, ref.