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Gender, Politics and Democratisation in Cameroon

Kassea Raul B.

Democritisation is supposed to open up political participation, to grant equal opportunities to all adults. One ironic feature of the liberalisation process in Cameroon has been the decrease of women in parliamentarian representation (14% in 1988, 6% in 1992, 5% in 1997 and 10% in 2002). What social, cultural and institutional mechanisms produced this paradoxical outcome, the exclusion of half the population? The gender complementarity of the indigenous context has been lost to male prevalence privileged by education, church, law, employment, economy and politics in the public sphere; most women are marginalised in the private sphere. Nation building and development hve failed; ethnicism and individualism are growing. Some hope lies in the growing civil society. From two surveys in 21 focus groups across Cameroon, in 2000 and 2002, some significant results of the processed empirical data reveal low electoral registration (34.5% women and 65.9% men), contrasted by the willingness to run for municipal elections (33.3% women and 45.2% men). The co-existence of customary and statutory laws, the corrupt political system and fraudalent practices, contribute to the marginalisation of women and men who are interested in politics. A large majority of female respondents consider female politicians more trustworthy and capable that their male counterparts; they even foresee the appointment of a female Prime Minister. The Nordic countries have institutionalised gender equality in their legislation, policies and practices. France has improved women’s political inclusion with the parity laws; Rwanda is another model of women’s representation, thanks to its post-conflict constitution. From Kassea’s analysis, Cameroonian institutions, men and more so women, may learn and borrow from these experiences, in order to design and implement a sustainable and gender-balanced democracy.

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  • Julkaisija Sosiaalipsykologia (Helsingin yliopisto)
    Julkaisuvuosi 2006
    Sivumäärä 288
    Kieli Englanti
    Ulkoasu A5,pehmeäkantinen
    ISBN 9521032855
    ISSN 0357-4040