2016 Dlamini-Zuma and Hillary Clinton: Sexism, racism and party fractures make a perfect political storm. Daily Maverick
Narratives of Triumph and Loss explores the successes, challenges and controversies of women‘s post-conflict political leadership. Through interviews with women who have held significant leadership positions, the book explores the relationships between their educational, professional, activist and personal backgrounds. It situates their stories within historical and contemporary political contexts, illustrating the gendered ways in which women experience politics as citizens and politicians.
Rwanda and South Africa have amongst the highest representation levels of women in national legislatures in the world. Consequently, the recent literature on women and politics in these countries mostly focuses on women parliamentarians only. However, there is a need to examine the nuances of women’s political leadership, amongst and beyond parliamentarians. To this end, narratives were collected from eleven semi-structured interviews with women political leaders in Rwanda and South Africa. These narratives suggest new insights in the area of women and politics in these countries. Firstly, early life experiences influence their political priorities as leaders. Secondly, in relation to ordinary women, women political leaders are an educationally and professionally advantaged group of women. Thirdly, their experiences and positions within society and politics are still greatly influenced by their gender, and gender inequality. Lastly, their leadership is influenced by numerous factors, which ultimately affects the impact of their presence. In light of this, their experiences show that women political leaders are still affected by their gendered status within society, thus affecting the contributions that they are able to make in rebuilding their societies.