Artinian Fund Workshop on ‘African Women in Power’

With a grant from APSA’s Artinian Fund, Leonardo Arriola, University of California, Berkeley, and Martha Johnson, Mills College, hosted a workshop on 3-4 September 2017 for junior and senior scholars studying the role of African women in politics. Held at UC Berkeley, the workshop brought together scholars from the United States, Europe, and Africa to receive critical feedback for a joint publication that will produce new insights on women’s political participation and representation. The works of these scholars move beyond existing research on women’s election to African parliaments to new topics such as the challenges women face in primary elections and how they navigate cabinet politics. For their research, the scholars draw on in-depth interviews with women politicians, surveys of both candidates and elected officials, participant observation, and media analysis. The workshop was co-sponsored by Berkeley’s Center for African Studies and Townsend Center for the Humanities.

The event began with lunch on Sunday, September 3, immediately after the 2017 APSA annual conference in San Francisco, and included afternoon panels on Sunday followed by dinner. Monday morning included two more panels, followed by lunch. Participants read all the contributions, and the conference organizers facilitated an open discussion of each paper. Discussion over lunch on Monday focused on common themes and next directions.

Session 1: Women’s Voice in Politics

  1. Electoral Accountability and Constraints on Women’s Substantive Representation: Lessons from Namibia and Uganda. Amanda Clayton, Vanderbilt University
  2. Women’s Substantive Representation in an African Parliament: The Case of Burkina Faso. Assembly in Burkina Faso. Alice Kang, University of Nebraska
  3. Playing the Game: How Women Ministers Navigate Executive Power Across Africa. Chiedo Nwankwor, Johns Hopkins University, SAIS

Session 2: Political Institutions and Women’s Election

  1. Vying for a ‘Man Seat’: Female Candidature and Reserved Seats in Uganda and Kenya. Amanda Edgell, University of Florida
  2. Party Primaries and Women’s Representation in Ghana. Gretchen Bauer, University of Delaware

Session 3: Campaigns and Bias

  1. With Hands Tied: A Women Presidential Candidate’s Pursuit of Programmatic Politics. Matthew Gichohi, University of Bergen
  2. A Study of the Media’s Representation of Female Parliamentary Candidates in Ghana. Amanda Coffie and Peace A. Medie, University of Ghana

Session 4: Women Politicians: Who Runs? Who Wins?

  1. Who Runs for Local Office? A Comparison of Candidate Biographies in Benin and Malawi. Amanda Clayton, Vanderbilt University, Martha Johnson, Mills College, Amanda Robinson, Ohio State University, and Ragnhild Muriaas, University of Bergen
  2. Persistence and Perseverance: Female Politicians in Zambia. Leonardo Arriola, University of California, Berkeley, Melanie Thompson, University of California, Berkeley, and Lise Rakner, University of Bergen