This multi-author report identifies critical factors preventing marginalized women’s inclusion in customary and democratic decision-making structures and describes how women have worked in overcoming barriers to their participation.

The report’s ten case studies gather knowledge and practical experience from around the world, drawing on reform efforts to identify ways in which women can impact on political processes through their participation in politics.

It details specific strategies marginalized women and their supporters have adopted, ranging from direct action strategies in Somaliland to ‘soft’ advocacy strategies in Cambodia.


Publication date
01 October 2013
Oussematou Dameni, Sue Gollifer, Jenny Hedström, Lisa Heemann, Nicholas Henry, Naomi Johnstone, Leah Kimathi, Julius Lambi, Vasu Mohan, Julian Smith, Suraiya Tabassum, Janine Ubink, Michael Walls
Number of pages
978-91-86565-93-0 (Print)


Vidar Helgesen

Introduction: Journeys from exclusion to inclusion
Julian Smith

PART I: Overcoming marginalization in customary governance

1. The intervention of PEACE during ‘the Crisis’: promoting the inclusion of women in customary systems in Bougainville
Naomi Johnstone

2. Breaking through the confines of traditions: the Wajir Peace and Development Committee in northern Kenya
Leah Kimathi

3. The successful road towards inclusion of women in traditional governance institutions: the case of Namibia’s Uukwambi Traditional Authority
Janine Ubink

4. Living customary law in South Africa: a space for women to overcome exclusion
Lisa Heemann

PART II: The intersection of gender and religion

5. Women’s political participation in Somaliland
Michael Walls

6. The inclusion of Muslim women in Indian democratic governance structures and processes
Vasu Mohan and  Suraiya Tabassum

PART III: Women’s stories from Myanmar

7. Solidarity in exile? The influence of gender politics on the pro-democracy struggle in Myanmar
Jenny Hedström

8. A place on the platform: the participation of women in Karen community organizations
Nicholas Henry

PART IV: Including women in local decision-making processes

9. ‘Beyond almost all politicians there are women in the shadows’: Cambodian women’s experiences of local governance
Sue Gollifer

10. Making decentralization meaningful for marginalized communities: lessons from the Integrated Development Foundation in Cameroon
Julius Lambi and Oussematou Dameni

Conclusion: Learning from the stories of marginalized women
Julian Smith

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Journeys from Exclusion to Inclusion: Marginalized women's successes in overcoming political exclusion

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