Since the Senegalese local elections in 1996, women have increasingly entered the local political arena in rural councils and municipalities. This book addresses the question of how women act politically, what interests they defend and how they influence resource allocation. The author argues that structural changes have opened space for resourceful women to enter local politics. However women's mobilisation does not radically break with the clientelist and factional dynamics of Senegalese politics. Women leaders often start their career in party politics as result of co-optation by male political leaders, but they do not continue as passive objects of male manipulation. Senegalese female politicians demonstrate that they are capable of taking up political positions using the local women's groups and the Women's Federation as political backyard and support. They create networks that can be activated, where services are exchanged and political strategies take shape., but the existing political culture does not change radically because women enter the scene.
EBBE PRAG, Part-time Lecturer at the University of Roskilde, the Department of Society and Globalisation is a specialist in African politics, women in politics and trade in Francophone Africa. He has recently published two articles on market women’s associations and political struggles at the Dantokpa market in Cotonou, Benin.