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

This publication is only available in electronic format
1 October 2013
978-91-86565-93-0 (Print)
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
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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.


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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Image credit: International IDEA

Image credit: International IDEA 

Press Release

A collection of speakers from past events.

Top row from left to right: Patricia Torsney, Permanent Observer for the Inter-Parliamentary Union to the United Nations; Anne-Marie Goetz, Professor of Global Affair at the New York University; Maria Bassols, Deputy Permanent Representative for the Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations; Malene Almeida, Coordinator at Praia City Group on Governance Statistics; Rumbidzai Kandawasvika-Nhundu, Senior Advisor at International IDEA. 

Middle Row from left to right:  Annika Silva-Leander, Head of Democracy Assessment at International IDEA; Keboitse Machangana, Former Director of Global Programme at International IDEA; Annika Savill, Executive Head for the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF); Njeri Kabeberi, Chair of International IDEA’s Board of Advisers; Sarah Lister, Head of Governance at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Margot Wallström, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden. 

Bottom row from left to right: Pippa Norris, Lecturer and Political Science at Harvard University; Simonetta Sommaruga, President of the Swiss Confederation; Maria Leissner, Ambassador at Sweden’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Riika Laatu, Finnish Ambassador to Myanmar; Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group.