Going Beyond Numbers

Reframing Substantive Representation of Women Parliamentarians in Post-War Sierra Leone

in African and Asian Studies
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This paper critically examines the concept of women’s substantive representation through an assessment of the accomplishments of Sierra Leone female parliamentarians serving from 2007-2012. The paper argues that much of the current research about the impact of elected women on advancing a gendered agenda rests on criteria that are borrowed uncritically from western political systems and thus misses out on some of the accomplishments of female parliamentarians that fall outside of this narrow frame. The paper posits that adopting an African feminist framework can make visible the invisible, broaden our understanding of what elected women can accomplish, and suggest ways in which actors engaged in promoting women’s empowerment can be more effective and supportive in their aims to increase women’s political representation.

Going Beyond Numbers

Reframing Substantive Representation of Women Parliamentarians in Post-War Sierra Leone

in African and Asian Studies



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