Malawian women lead their communities as democratic representatives, by participating with men in state politics – but not to the extent that they could. Contemporary formal state politics is constructed as a masculine domain, and only a small minority of women find space within this sphere. In seeking to explore reasons why this is the case, a qualitative study was conducted with 15 women from Zomba, Lilongwe, and Blantyre, who have been active in state politics over the years. The findings offered in-depth insights into the limits and constraints inhibiting women’s involvement in politics. These relate to economic income and education, as well as to gender stereotypes and gendered expectations of women in the family and society.
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