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Societal perceptions of women in politics in Cameroon must change
2017-08-30

 Description: Prof Atanga readmore Tags: Prof Lilian Atanga, University of Bamenda, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Africa Studies, political participation of women 

Prof Lilian Lem Atanga presented a lecture,
Gender, Discourse and Cognition and Implications on
Political Participation, 
as part of the First Humanities
and Gendered Worlds Lecture 2017.
Photo: Charl Devenish


Women have not internalised the fact that they can participate on an equal footing in politics with men. This is one of the conclusions made by Prof Lilian Lem Atanga in a study of the political participation of women in Cameroon.
“There still is a strong belief that women can’t deliver the goods (in areas such as politics),” Prof Atanga said. According to her, stereotypes were still entrenched in Africa and a lot had to be done to change societal perceptions of the role of women in politics.

Poor representation of women in politics
Prof Atanga, an associate professor at the University of Bamenda in Cameroon, was guest speaker at the First Humanities and Gendered Worlds Lecture 2017. The lecture was hosted by the Faculty of Humanities and the Centre for Africa Studies (CAS) at the University of the Free State (UFS) in the Equitas Auditorium, Bloemfontein Campus, on 3 August 2017. The title of the research fellow’s lecture at the CAS lecture was Gender, Discourse and Cognition and Implications on Political Participation.
She noted that although there had been a marked increase in the political participation of women in Cameroon, it still was insufficient. Of the 24 million people in the country, 52% were women but only 20% of the senators and 31% of parliamentarians were women. 

Gender-segregated roles affect participation 
And there are many reasons for this. “A lot more women still believe in gender-segregated roles and this affects their political participation.” Many men also don’t approve of women’s political participation.
In her study Prof Atanga found that stereotypes were also emphasised in the way the media in Cameroon reported on the roles of women. 

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