Young women and African political spaces.

Edited by Admin
Young women and African political spaces.

By Grace Atuhaire, Interim Diaspora Coordinator, Alliance for National Transformation (ANT)


Any political party in Africa, or association that supports political parties' transformative agendas must address this challenge: What are the internal existing structures for mentorship of young women? Particularly, new formation political parties like the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) that are shaped by ideologies of building strong institutions set the standard for a wave of new ways of politics on the continent. However, their success is hinged on how they capitalise on advancing young women in political participation.

The perception of politics as a domain for older and mature people can be heard from Malawi, Uganda and other countries across the continent. Although a number of young politicians and female young politicians have emerged on the continent, the stereotype that “young people are the future” just emphasise that young people should stay out of the arena today. It appears also that the executive of the youth leagues or youth councils is comprised of older individuals.


Addressing the issues of gender equality in the political environment of the continent has had its shared success stories. Among the top African countries with a high percentage of women in ministerial positions are Rwanda (51.9%), South Africa (48.6%), Ethiopia (47.6%), Seychelles (45.5%), Uganda (36.7%) and Mali (34.4%). However, some of these positions have been highly criticised as either enablers of keeping a status quo with women not vying for the main member of parliament seat. In Uganda, our numbers in parliament are too many to be sustained in relation to the dire service delivery. Further, the overall budgetary allocation to the women’s representative position is yet to be substantive. Therefore, there is an increasing gap for the motivation and encouragement of young women and young rural women into political participation. 


Quotas have been shown to be essential to improve female representation in parliaments around the world. The participation of young women within such a status quo becomes reciprocal of a system that is attuned to stereotypes, keeping the quotas but not really interested in overseeing a holistic change within all structures of power. However, this status quo is changing with the emergence of new visionary political parties. At the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), our ideological foundation in building strong institutions and changing the landscape of women and young women within the political field is a great step forward. We have an affirmative action of about 40% seats to be occupied by women. Young women, both in urban and rural areas are part of the interim leadership committee and in our youth league coordination and membership. While ANT works towards building a legacy that representative of the irreplaceable role and contribution of women in our society, the challenges of young women and politics need to be prioritised by every party, ruling government and civil society.




Evelyn Anite. 2017. It's tough for women to get to the top in African politics – but we're blazing a trail. The Guardian.

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