The Role of Patriarchy in the Roll-back of Democracy

Challenging Patriarchy Poster

The papers in this collection capture some ways in which the rollback of democracy has manifested in the East and Horn of Africa region. The articles not only highlight regression in the various thematic spaces; reproductive health, religion, media, social and political movements as well as the state of constitutionalism, but also recommend interventions and concepts that can gear states towards an inclusive democracy.

The role of patriarchy and other interlocking oppressions remains a deep concern that requires a multi-faceted response depending on the different contexts within which power is exercised. While the push for inclusive leadership in the East and Horn of Africa has yielded visible gains with more women elected over time, power has not shifted to reflect the increment in those numbers. Eliminating gendered inequalities remains a legitimate struggle in the wake of the commercialised and violent politics that limit the participation of women and citizens in general, particularly those of lower social-economic status. The few women operating within the patriarchal state structure survive by adapting to it with little collective women agency to show.

State structures have mutated to look more accommodating of women, all the while maintaining gendered notions and norms instrumental in determining who accesses and retains power. Political repression, the resurgence of the autocratic rule as well as the rise of the capitalist ruling elites all pose a great danger to inclusive leadership in the region. 

A digital copy of this book is available on the hbs website.

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