Women in Politics

Voices from the Commonwealth

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A collection of profiles of thirty-three women in politics from eleven Commonwealth countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Dominica, Guyana, India, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, South Africa and Uganda. The profiles illustrate the diversity of experience across the Commonwealth, and highlight the realities of life for many women. The stories these dedicated and courageous women relate sharpen the focus on existing and potential challenges and barriers which face women politicians.

Women in Politics: Voices from the Commonwealth shows that to a large extent the degree of women’s integration into political life depends on the system of values prevalent in a society, and on established political patterns. On another level, it is a study which uses these retold experiences to analyse the different strategies women could develop, refine and adopt to build successful political careers.




Once viewed as the “discovery” of European explorations in the seventeenth century, Australia, physically one of the largest nations on earth, is now recognised as the home of an ancient Aboriginal civilisation reaching back thousands of years. Its modern history has been dominated by the process of colonisation from the West in which Britain played a central role; even today, symbolic executive power in Australia remains vested in the British monarch, represented throughout the land by the Governor-General. In real political terms, however, Australia is an independent federal democracy whose constitutional features derive not only from British, but also from US political practice.


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