Obstacles for Women in Leadership Positions: The Case of South Africa

Show simple item record Gouws, Amanda 2019-10-09T09:48:39Z 2019-10-09T09:48:39Z 2008
dc.description.abstract One of the findings of a 2007 survey done by the South African Commission on Gender Equality is that more than 30 percent of the respondents are of the opinion that women are too emotional to handle high‐level leadership positions (Commission on Gender Equality 2005). It is common for stereotypical ideas to inform perceptions about women’s abilities to perform well in leadership positions. In this vein, although 32 percent of South African parliamentarians are women and these women for the most part do their work competently, many respondents think that women cannot handle high‐level leadership jobs. Women political leaders have to cope not only with these stereotypical ideas about themselves but also with very public and visible political incidents that undermine women’s authority and a feminist agenda in government. One incident was the firing of the woman deputy minister of health by the president because of what was deemed her insubordination, and another was the rape trial of the former deputy president of South Africa. I will elaborate on these incidents below. While women political leaders face many obstacles, especially in male‐dominated institutional cultures such as parliament, I want to single out four that I consider to be some of the major stumbling blocks at present: lack of support from the women’s party auxiliary, despite a women‐friendly electoral system; the closing of the political opportunity structure, which makes it difficult to frame issues in a gendered way; the gap between women leaders and women followers; and dysfunctional gender machinery structures and the lack of support from the women’s movement. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher The University of Chicago Press en_US
dc.subject Women in Leadership en_US
dc.subject South Africa en_US
dc.subject Gender equality en_US
dc.title Obstacles for Women in Leadership Positions: The Case of South Africa en_US
dc.type Article en_US

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