Increasing women’s representation in the Cameroon parliament: Do numbers really matter?

Authored by: Violet Yigha Fokum, Lotsmart N. Fonjong, and Melinda J. Adams

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation
Country: Cameroon
Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2020
Citation: Yigha Fokum, Violet, et al. “Increasing Women's Representation in the Cameroon Parliament: Do Numbers Really Matter?” Women's Studies International Forum 80 (May 2020).

Access the Resource:


This article examines the relationship between the number of women legislators in Cameroon and their impact on gender-related policy. It explores this relationship through an analysis of women legislators’ perceived influence on parliamentary proceedings and decision-making processes within parliamentary structures. The study uses the concepts of descriptive and substantive representation to investigate the extent to which an increase in the presence of women in the Cameroonian parliament affects the quality of women’s issues presented to parliament. The article draws on interviews with 11 women members of parliament (MPs) and a gender analysis of Cameroonian political institutions. It argues that an increase in the number of women does not significantly enhance the substantive representation of women’s issues. While the gender of women MPs influence their participation in decision-making structures within parliament, party discipline and the executive-dominant political system more generally have a greater influence on the issues and policies that the parliament debates and votes upon.