In African political cultures, being a young woman of servile status seems to combine all the criteria for marginalization vis-à-vis the political sphere. However, since the democratic decentralization reforms in western Africa, the rules of the local political game have changed. In Northern Benin, young intellectual women of servile (Gando) origin have been able to gain positions of power after the 2008 cities elections. This article analyzes the conditions of this female political emergence. Without questioning male dominance or being mere instruments of male politicians, these political women have been able to seize opportunities and to negotiate their position in public decision-making structures. Development projects have played an important role in this process. These changes in the political structures have also in turn altered the local political cultures.
- women empowerment