Rwanda and South Africa have some of the highest rates of women’s political representation in the world, with significant growth particularly in the last 20 years. Through interviews with eleven women who have held formal political leadership since 1994 in Rwanda and South Africa, Women Political Leaders in Rwanda and South Africa: Narratives of Triumph and Loss
(Barbara Budrich, 2016) explores the ways in which life experiences, education, activism, and social and cultural identities have shaped the individual journeys and contributions of women in politics in the two countries and investigates role of women’s political representation in achieving social and economic progress in the aftermath of conflict. Author Naleli Morojele
, Human Rights Officer at the South African Human Rights Commission and PhD candidate at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, presents an in-depth look at the challenges that women encounter as they navigate patriarchal power structures and gendered expectations in the legislature, the home, and society at large and balance conflicting political identities based on gender, race, and class as they work to effect change.
Diana Dukhanova is Visiting Assistant Professor of Slavic Studies at Brown University.