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Women and Power in Postconflict Africa

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Gender and Politics

  • Date Published: October 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107535879

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About the Authors
  • The book explains an unexpected consequence of the decrease in conflict in Africa after the 1990s. Analysis of cross-national data and in-depth comparisons of case studies of Uganda, Liberia, and Angola show that post-conflict countries have significantly higher rates of women's political representation in legislatures and government compared with countries that have not undergone major conflict. They have also passed more legislative reforms and made more constitutional changes relating to women's rights. The study explains how and why these patterns emerged, tying these outcomes to the conjuncture of the rise of women's movements, changes in international women's rights norms, and, most importantly, gender disruptions that occur during war. This book will help scholars, students, women's rights activists, international donors, policy makers, non-governmental organizations (NGO), and others better understand some of the circumstances that are most conducive to women's rights reform today and why.

    • Breaks new ground theoretically, and will inspire more research to expand, qualify or even challenge what is written
    • The first book to explain why post-conflict countries have been more open to women's rights policies and representation in Africa and beyond
    • Accessible to broad audiences from students, to academics, women's rights activists, donors, NGO practitioners, policy makers and others
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    • Winner, 2015 Best Book Award, African Politics Conference Group, American Political Science Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Among the most notable outcomes of civil conflicts has been the expansion of women's roles and rights, particularly in the political sphere. Studies and theories abound, but Tripp (Univ. of Wisconsin–Madison) takes them to a new level. She seeks to explain why women enjoy greater social, political, constitutional, and legislative prominence in post-conflict states and how they achieved this so quickly under difficult circumstances … Highly recommended for university and larger public library systems and collections specializing in African studies, international affairs, comparative politics, and war and peace studies."
    J. P. Smaldone, Choice

    '… Tripp’s book examines a decade-long pattern of high participation of women in parliament and leadership along with women’s rights policies in postconflict African countries.' Manisha Desai, Mobilization: An International Quarterly

    'This book provides a rich, historical, and comparative account of the impact of women and conflicts in shaping evolving gender regimes. One of the book’s greatest strengths is its disruptions of the essentialist arguments often tied to sub-Saharan Africa via its recognition of African women’s agency in shaping their own destiny as well as international, mainstream discourses of gender equality and empowerment. … it calls for more geographic studies on development and gendered activism. Women and Power in Postconflict Africa is a powerful contribution to the scholarship on gender and development in its attention to historical and contextual analyses of women’s rights and empowerment. It also extends the literature on civil society through its attention to the heterogeneity of women’s organizing in the region and the spaces of possibilities that exist even in dire circumstances.' Oceane Jasor, H-Diplo

    'Women and Power in Postconflict Africa offers an impressively rich and comprehensive picture of gender regime change in post-1990s Africa. Using case studies and cross-national analytical data, Aili Tripp’s new book provides insights into key causal processes that enable a shift in gender norms and roles in the postconflict environment, and highlights the roles that women play as agents of change in a variety of conflict, peace, and postconflict processes.' Sarah Shair-Rosenfield, Perspectives on Politics

    'Tripp’s Women and Power in Post-Conflict Africa provides an impressively detailed analysis of [postconflict and gender] dynamics in Angola, Liberia, and Uganda.' Marie E. Berry and Milli Lake, Politics and Gender

    'Tripp has performed a great service in pulling together a wide range of research and analysis on women and political power. In the end, she has brought us a thoughtful assessment of an issue that should be at the top of every nation’s agenda - what can be done to improve the role and influence of women in politics, not only in Africa, but around the world.' Kathleen Sheldon, African Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107535879
    • length: 320 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus. 4 maps 33 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Setting the Stage: Preface
    1. Introduction
    2. Pathways to change in political gender regimes
    Part II. Case Studies:
    3. Uganda: forging a new trajectory
    4. Liberia: the power of fighting for peace
    5. Angola: the limits of post-conflict gender policy reform
    Part III. New Openings for Women's Rights:
    6. Women's rights in peace agreements
    7. Women's rights in post-conflict constitutions
    Part IV. Gendered Outcomes:
    8. Women and leadership in post-conflict countries
    9. Women's rights and post-conflict legislative reform
    Part V. Future Research:
    10. New frontiers in the study of women, conflict, and peace.

  • Author

    Aili Mari Tripp, University of Wisconsin, Madison
    Aili Tripp is Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is author of several award-winning books, including Museveni's Uganda: Paradoxes of Power in a Hybrid Regime (2010), African Women's Movements: Transforming Political Landscapes (Cambridge, 2009), and Women and Politics in Uganda (2000). Professor Tripp is co-editor of the book series Women in Africa and the Diaspora. She has served as president of the African Studies Association and vice president of the American Political Science Association.


    • Winner, 2015 Best Book Award, African Politics Conference Group, American Political Science Association
    • Finalist, 2016 Melville J. Herskovitz Prize, African Studies Association

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