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WOMEN IN POLITICS: AN ASSESSMENT ON THE MARGINALIZATION OF WOMEN IN POLITICS AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF CAMEROON

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WOMEN IN POLITICS: AN ASSESSMENT ON THE MARGINALIZATION OF WOMEN IN POLITICS AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

The global issue of women's involvement in politics has been a cause for worry for many years. Despite progress in gender equality efforts across the globe, women continue to be underrepresented and marginalised in political processes. The objective of this research is to evaluate the exclusion of women from political participation and its impact on development, with a specific emphasis on the social, political, and economic consequences of gender inequalities in political leadership and decision-making (Tchoungui, 2017). Historically, women have encountered systematic obstacles to engaging in politics, which are based on patriarchal systems and cultural conventions that favour male leadership. For decades, women have been systematically excluded from political processes, with little possibilities to wield positions of power or influence in governing systems(Kenny & Woller, 2020). Despite the increasing strength of suffrage campaigns throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which aimed to secure women's voting rights and eligibility for political office, women still faced persistent structural disadvantages that hindered their full involvement in politics. Although there has been progress in many areas, inequalities in political representation continue to exist worldwide. As of 2022, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) reports that women occupy a mere 25.5% of parliamentary seats globally, highlighting a substantial disparity in gender representation in political leadership (IPU, 2022). Moreover, the presence of women in executive and decision-making positions, such as heads of state, ministers, and party leaders, is often considerably more scarce. This emphasises the deeply rooted existence of gender disparity in politics. The marginalisation of women in politics is sustained by several structural obstacles, such as discriminatory legislation and practices, gender stereotypes, restricted access to education and resources, and cultural norms that prioritise male leadership. Electoral procedures and political party structures often put women candidates at a disadvantage, exacerbating the existing gender disparity in political participation (Kenny & Woller, 2020). The lack of proportional participation of women in political decision-making processes has significant consequences for development results. Studies indicate that increased gender diversity in politics results in policy agendas that are more comprehensive and include concerns such as healthcare, education, and social welfare (Chattopadhyay & Duflo, 2015). On the other hand, the absence of women in political leadership positions obstructs the advancement of gender equality and the attainment of sustainable development goals (SDGs) (United Nations, 2020). Therefore, the researcher sought to assess the marginalization of women in politics and its effects on the development of Cameroon

1.2 Statement of the problem

Despite advancements in gender equality globally, women continue to face significant barriers to full participation in political processes, particularly in countries like Cameroon. Despite the constitutional provisions and international commitments advocating for gender parity in politics, women remain significantly marginalized in political leadership positions (UNDP, 2019). This marginalization not only undermines the principles of democracy and equality but also has profound implications for the country's development trajectory. The problem statement revolves around the persistent underrepresentation of women in Cameroonian politics and its adverse effects on the nation's development. While there is recognition of the importance of women's participation in decision-making processes for sustainable development (UNDP, 2019), empirical evidence specific to Cameroon is lacking. Understanding the root causes and consequences of women's marginalization in politics is essential for devising effective strategies to address this issue and harness the full potential of women as agents of change and development in Cameroon. Hence, the study assess the marginalization of women in politics and its effects on the development of Cameroon

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to look into women in politics: An assessment on the marginalization of women in politics and its effects on the development of Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows

To examine the causes of  marginalization of women in Cameroonian politics

To assess the impact of women's underrepresentation in political decision-making positions on the development of Cameroon

To evaluate factors limiting women from participating in Cameroon politics.

To identify strategies aimed at promoting women's participation in Cameroonian politics

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to further guide the study

What is  the causes of  marginalization of women in Cameroonian politics?

What is the impact of women's underrepresentation in political decision-making positions on the development of Cameroon?

What are the factors limiting women from participating in Cameroon politics?

What are the strategies aimed at promoting women's participation in Cameroonian politics?

1.5 Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant to the following

The findings of this study will be of benefit to policymakers as it will reveal the extent to which women have been marginalized in politics, thereby formulating policies aimed at bridging this gap. By providing empirical evidence of the barriers faced by women in politics, policymakers can design and implement targeted policies and initiatives to enhance women's participation in decision-making bodies at all levels of government.

Findings of the study will also be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to existing literature and also add to library resources, it will also serve as a guide for future research on the topic at hand. 

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on  political parties: Contributions  of  party supporters to  the success of party candidate election in Cameroon. Empirically, the study will examine the causes of  marginalization of women in Cameroonian politics, assess the impact of women's underrepresentation in political decision-making positions on the development of Cameroon, evaluate factors limiting women from participating in Cameroon politics and identify strategies aimed at promoting women's participation in Cameroonian politics.

1.7 Limitation of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition of terms

Gender Disparities: Women remain significantly underrepresented in politics globally, including in Cameroon. This study sheds light on the specific challenges faced by women in entering and thriving in political spheres within the Cameroonian context. By highlighting these challenges, the study contributes to efforts aimed at addressing gender disparities in political representation.

Political Empowerment: Understanding the marginalization of women in politics is crucial for empowering women to actively participate in decision-making processes. By identifying barriers such as cultural norms, institutional biases, and socio-economic factors, the study can inform targeted interventions to promote women's political participation and leadership roles.

Social Transformation: Addressing the marginalization of women in politics requires broader societal transformation. By raising awareness of gender biases and stereotypes that perpetuate women's exclusion from political leadership, this study contributes to changing attitudes and perceptions towards women's roles in governance and public life.

International Commitments: Cameroon, like many other countries, is signatory to international agreements and conventions promoting gender equality and women's rights, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This study provides insights into Cameroon's progress towards fulfilling its international commitments to gender equality in political representation.


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