Not yet citizens : the role of civic education in increasing the level of political participation of Tanzanian women

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Vinne, Anoek van der
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In Africa’s patriarchal societies, rigid gender roles often determine the position and status of women in society. In many cases, women’s ‘proper’ place is thought to be in the private, rather than the public sphere. Consequently, the political domain and decision making processes have been dominated by men. The fact that women have continuously been marginalised in political institutions has created a situation where issues of direct concern to women have been downplayed or ignored. Since women have always been a disadvantaged group in African societies, it was expected that they could benefit more than any other group from the democratisation processes that started more than a decade ago. This paper has analysed whether women have been able to raise their voices and lobby for the inclusion of their interests in decision making processes. Using Tanzania as a case study, it was found that ordinary women as well as female politicians still encounter difficulties in the articulation and representation of their gender-specific needs, concerns and perspectives in the political processes of their country. In recent years, civic education has become a popular instrument to ensure more political engagement. This paper has therefore examined to what extent civic education can be expected to increase the level of political participation of Tanzanian women.
Second semester University: Queen's University, Belfast.
democratisation, Tanzania, education, gender discrimination, political participation, women