Party Centralization and Debate Conditions in South Africa

Denise Walsh

in The Impact of Gender Quotas

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199830091
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932924 | DOI:
Party Centralization and Debate Conditions in South Africa

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This chapter 8 explores the substantive effects of the party quota adopted by the leading party in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC). Scrutinizing women’s rights initiatives in the first two post-apartheid parliaments, Denise Walsh discovers a disconnect between women’s “access” and “voice,” noting that as the numbers of women in parliament have increased, the opportunities for pursuing women-friendly legislation have declined. The data suggest that these outcomes are directly related to the ANC’s quota policy: in the second parliament, the quota allowed ANC leaders to handpick women who would toe the party line, allowing leaders to centralize their power while reinforcing the perception that the ANC was committed to women’s equality. Consequently, the ability of female MPs to advance women’s rights was undermined by an increasingly dominant executive that became emboldened to ignore women’s rights while “hiding” behind the quota.

Keywords: gender quotas; party quota; legislative behavior; policy-making; dominant party; South Africa

Chapter.  7912 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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