Women's Organizations And Democracy In South Africa: Contesting Authority

Paperback | May 22, 2006

byShireen Hassim

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The transition to democracy in South Africa was one of the defining events in twentieth-century political history. The South African women’s movement is one of the most celebrated on the African continent. Shireen Hassim examines interactions between the two as she explores the gendered nature of liberation and regime change. Her work reveals how women’s political organizations both shaped and were shaped by the broader democratic movement. Alternately asserting their political independence and giving precedence to the democratic movement as a whole, women activists proved flexible and remarkably successful in influencing policy. At the same time, their feminism was profoundly shaped by the context of democratic and nationalist ideologies. In reading the last twenty-five years of South African history through a feminist framework, Hassim offers fresh insights into the interactions between civil society, political parties, and the state.

    Hassim boldly confronts sensitive issues such as the tensions between autonomy and political dependency in feminists’ engagement with the African National Congress (ANC) and other democratic movements, and black-white relations within women’s organizations. She offers a historically informed discussion of the challenges facing feminist activists during a time of nationalist struggle and democratization.


“An exceptional study, based on extensive research. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice

“A rich history of women’s organizations in South African . . . . [Hassim] had observed at first hand, and often participated in, much of what she described. She had access to the informants and private archives that so enliven the narrative and enrich the analysis. She provides a finely balanced assessment.”—Gretchen Bauer, African Studies Review

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From the Publisher

The transition to democracy in South Africa was one of the defining events in twentieth-century political history. The South African women’s movement is one of the most celebrated on the African continent. Shireen Hassim examines interactions between the two as she explores the gendered nature of liberation and regime change. Her work ...

Shireen Hassim is senior lecturer in political science at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and a widely published author in the field of gender politics in South Africa.

other books by Shireen Hassim

Women's Organizations and Democracy in South Africa: Contesting Authority
Women's Organizations and Democracy in South Africa: Co...

Kobo ebook|Jun 1 2006

$17.19 online$22.24list price(save 22%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:370 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:May 22, 2006Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299213846

ISBN - 13:9780299213848

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“One of South Africa’s leading feminist scholars sheds new light on democratization and broader feminist political dilemmas; it is a tour-de-force.”—Gay Seidman, University of Wisconsin–Madison