Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Isaac Kamola


The discourse on women and development stems from a long history of the international community’s commitment to advancing women’s rights. Since the early 1970s, the UN has taken different approaches to address gender inequality. This thesis explores this discourse and the Millennium Development Goals to address the situation of women in Senegal. I first argue that in spite of Senegal’s accomplishments in meeting different targets, women are still marginalized. In 2010, Senegal passed a gender parity law to increase the number of women within the government. Through fieldwork in Dakar, this study seeks to understand the mobilization efforts leading to the adoption of the law and the anticipated results as related to women and development. This analysis shows that the parity law has increased the representation of women in parliament; started changing stereotypes about women; and created a space for them to enter politics. Through the discussions with the local groups, I argue that efforts at the local, national and international levels, including improving education, decreasing illiteracy, creating economic opportunities, working with local organizations that advocate for women and holding countries that ratify international conventions to higher standards will achieve gender equality within Senegal where the parity law hasn’t.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.