Call for Abstracts: Women, Power and Policymaking

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Call for Abstracts: Women, Power and Policymaking

08 Mar 2019

3min min read

Please note that submissions are now closed.


he Africa Portal, a joint initiative of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), is pleased to announce the launch of a thematic series titled Women, Power and Policymaking. We invite African researchers to submit abstracts of no more than 500 words related to the theme outlined below.  

A panel of experts will select 8-10 abstracts and invite authors to develop these into policy briefs (length: 2300 words). The panel will evaluate the policy briefs and choose 6 for publication on the Africa Portal. A monetary token will be awarded to the authors of the best publications, as selected by the panel. 


Please note the key dates of the process below.

  • Submission of extracts: Monday, 25 March 2019
  • Notification of abstract acceptance and invitation to submit policy brief: Wednesday, 3 April 2019
  • Submission of policy briefs: Friday, 10 May 2019 
  • Publication of policy briefs: July 2019


A clarion call for the promotion of women’s participation in decision-making on policy issues continues to sound across the globe. In Africa, where women make up over 50% of the population but remain under-represented in decision-making positions within political, economic and social spheres, gender equality and women’s economic empowerment is more critical than ever. Without it, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 vision and the United Nations’ SDG 5 targets for inclusive sustainable development will fail to materialise. To quote the late former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: “Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.”

African countries are making progress, albeit slowly and unevenly, across the continent. Rwanda, South Africa and Senegal feature among countries with the highest percentages of women in parliament, while other countries like Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo lag far behind in gender parity. In the private sector, lower branches of government, multilateral institutions, peacekeeping forums and the economy, the gender gap persists, resulting in policymaking that often fails to take gender mainstreaming and women’s perspectives and priorities into account.  

A critical examination of institutional, economic, cultural and country-specific barriers is needed to understand what impedes their full participation as key players in policymaking processes. Furthermore, experts caution that increasing the headcount of women in influential, decision-making roles is not enough: an enabling environment that includes support, training and institutional transformation will ensure their full and meaningful participation. 

Guidelines for submission

The Africa Portal invites submissions of abstracts that focus on closing the gender gap and actualising women’s participation in policymaking in Africa in one of the following fields:

  • Peace and Security
  • Local/national/regional/global governance
  • Regional and Global Trade
  • Science and Technology
  • Environmental Sustainability 
  • Health 
  • Law and Justice 
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • The Private Sector  

Authors are encouraged to focus on the African context, and may consider the following questions: What impact does greater women’s participation have on policymaking and practice? Has gender inclusivity yielded/how can it yield improved policy outcomes? What are concrete measures to help women overcome obstacles to meaningful participation in policymaking processes? How are African governments and regional bodies ensuring and promoting gender mainstreaming in their policies and programmes? What are the unique challenges African women face in accessing power and influence compared to their peers in the developed world? 

The length of the abstract should not exceed 500 words. It should be written in English and submitted via email to The subject line of the email should read: ABSTRACT SUBMISSION. 

The abstract must contain the following elements:

  • The working title of the policy brief
  • A clear description of the topic of the policy brief
  • The aim of the policy brief
  • At least 3 potential policy recommendations it will make
  • References to any cited literature and statistics

It is necessary to provide a 2-page CV that includes the following:

  • Name and surname of the author
  • Organisation/institution and contact details (address, phone, e-mail) of the author
  • Links to three recent published works by the author (if available) 

For enquiries, contact:
Qudsiya Karrim
Managing Editor, Africa Portal