Motives and Political Representation: The Case of Women Members of Parliament in Uganda
Women’s political representation in Uganda is a contentious issue. On the one hand, there are doubting public narratives of Women Members of Parliaments’ (WMP) performance. The doubts about WMPs’ performance inspired growing interest in their parliamentary performance. On the other hand, there are concerns about the gender gap in parliamentary representation. The underrepresentation of women in the political scene raises a puzzle about those who dare to compete. However, at the same time, there has been neglect of what drives women in the first place to parliamentary representation and their relationship to performance. This intriguing question calls for an objective analysis to unravel what influences women’s interest in parliamentary office. This paper answers two analytical questions: How do women Members of Parliament construe their interests in joining parliamentary politics? And whether WMPs’ motives influence their performance. These questions were answered by analysing conversations and interviews of five purposively selected WMPs representing five districts of Northern Uganda in the tenth Parliament between 2020 and 2021. Field data was triangulated with performance data from the same Parliament’s Hansard. Findings reveal that personal and social-cultural factors drive WMPs to Parliament. Motives are consequential to performance, although personal motives were more potent than social-cultural motives to performance. Personal, compared to social-cultural motives, are more susceptible to social-political factors in constituencies, institutions of Parliament, and the broad government, affecting motives’ fulfilment
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