Acta Universitatis Danubius. Œconomica, Vol 15, No 1 (2019)

Relating Women in Parliament and Economic Growth in an Emerging Economy – South Africa

Collins C Ngwakwe


As developing nations grapple with the economic challenges of the 21st century, the aptness of new approaches to boost economic growth is more than ever desired. To this end, this paper examined the relationship between the proportion of seats of women in national parliament and economic growth in South Africa; accordingly, the paper is anchored on women and development theory. The research applied a quantitative approach and secondary data on proportion of female seats in South Africa’s national parliament and the GDP growth for South Africa were retrieved from the World Bank development indicators for 1998 – 2017 (20 years); in addition, foreign direct investment (FDI) was used as a control variable. The OLS regression statistics was applied to analyse the relationship at an alpha value of 0.05. Findings from the results showed that whilst the FDI disclosed no significant relationship with economic growth, the proportion of female seats in national parliament indicated a significant positive relationship with the GDP growth for South Africa during the 20 years of study at a P-value of 0.0001. The paper contributes to the literature by examining this phenomenon within the South African context. From the result, the paper makes policy and research recommendations, which includes inter alia, the need to balance the parliamentary seats equitably for females and to increase female political seats in provincial legislators and in municipal managerial seats as this has the propensity to increase economic growth the more. Further research is apposite to examine this relationship at the provincial levels and across countries in Africa in a cross-sectional panel approach.   


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