The Role of Patriarchy in the Roll-back of Democracy
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Challenging Patriarchy

The Role of Patriarchy in the Roll-back of Democracy
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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.

Product details
Date of Publication
March 2020
Heinrich Boell Stiftung
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents



The Convergence of Patriarchy and Democratic Roll-Back in The East and Horn of Africa         

Mbalenhle Matandela (13)

Unmasking Patriarchy: The Family and Traditional Values Discourse and The Quest for The Reproductive Health and Rights of Women

Nerima A. Were, Linda W. Kroeger and Tabitha S. Griffith (21)

Failed Democratisation and Female Empowerment: The Case of Eritrea

Valentina Fusari ( 34)

Arsii Oromo Women’s Socio-Political Agency: The Gadaa System,

Siinqee, and Ateetee Amatullah Semmer Aman (51)

Women’s Rights and Motherism in Africa

Getnet Tibebu Alemayehu (63)

Countering Patriarchal Politics: Role of Feminism in Widening Democratic Spaces

Samuel Oltetia & Passy Amayo (77)

Patriarchy and Democracy in Africa: Reflections On the Underlying Influence of Islamic and Indigenous African Traditions On Women Participation in Kenyan Politics 

George Odhiambo Okoth (87)

Patriarchy and Print Media Coverage in Kenya: An Analysis of Newspaper Framing of Women Politicians in Pre-And Post 2017 General Election

Kevin C. Mudavadi (101)

Reproductive Justice as Human Rights in the East and Horn of Africa 

Nothando Maphalala (119)

The Two-Thirds Gender Rule and The Question of Women Empowerment in Kenya 

Protus Akwabi Murunga (134)

Winning Through (Dis)Alignment: The Language of the Kenyan Female Politicians

Simon Wanjala Nganga (150)

Challenging Patriarchy: The Role of Patriarchy in the Roll-back of Democracy