'Inspiring a revolution': Women's central role in Tanzanian institutions, independence and beyond

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Source Publication

Gendered Institutions and Women's Political Representation in Africa

Publication Date

Winter 12-24-2020


Diana Højlund Madsen







First Page


Last Page




Second Department

International Relations

Publisher Statement

During the course of the past three decades efforts of democratisation and institutional reforms have characterised the African continent, including demands for gender equality and women’s political representation. As a result, some countries have introduced affirmative action measures, either in the aftermath of conflicts or as part of broader constitutional reforms, whereas others are falling behind this fast track to women’s political representation. Utilising a range of case studies spanning both the success cases and the less successful cases from different regions, this work examines the uneven developments on the continent.

By mapping, analysing and comparing women’s political representation in different African contexts, this book sheds light on the formal and informal institutions and the interplay between these that are influencing women’s political representation and can explain the development on women’s political representation across the continent and present perspectives on an ‘African feminist institutionalism’.


Catherine Cymone FoursheyMarla L. Jaksch Critical readings of institutionalism reveal a disturbing, yet common pattern – a pattern in which women and their contributions – if they make it into the picture at all – are distorted and pushed to the margins. In-depth analyses of women’s political engagement in Africa continue to be limited and underdeveloped (Mulligan 1999; Yoon 2013, 2011) . Major scholarly works rarely address the gendered nature of political processes and political institutions; rather, they are androcentrically presented as normatively male. This persists despite a growing and rich feminist literature on women in the fields of history, sociology, development and politics. For the most part the scholarship examines aspects of women’s oppression and victimhood but rarely the consistent examples of women’s achievements and societal contributions evident in the Tanzanian context.

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