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Centre of African Studies: Events


Women, Equality, and Citizenship in Contemporary Africa

Women, Equality, and Citizenship in Contemporary Africa
Speaker: Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey # University of Oxford
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Date and Time
15th Jan 2020 16:00 - 15th Jan 2020 17:30
Violet Laidlaw room, 6th Floor CMB

Citizenship laws in different parts of Africa explicitly discriminate based on gender, ethnicity, race, and religion, with women bearing the brunt of these inequities. In particular, African women have faced structural, institutional and cultural barriers to ensuring full citizenship in policy and praxis, with contestations in the post-independence era centring around the fulfilment of citizenship rights embedded in law, practice and lived experience.

This paper argues that while African women’s concerns about their subjective roles as equal citizens were often sidelined during nationalist liberation movements, the post-independence era has presented more meaningful opportunities for women in the continent to demand equality of access to citizenship rights, resources and representation. In contemporary times, a number of local, national, continental and transnational developments have shaped the contours of the battle for women’s citizenship equality, including the prominence of domestic women’s movements; national constitutional reviews and revisions processes; electoral quotas; female labour force participation; and feminism as a unifying principle of gender justice. Although African women have managed to overcome some constraints imposed on them not only by patriarchy, but also by histories of slavery, colonialism, structural adjustment, land dispossession, militarism and neoliberalism, this has certainly not been the panacea for achieving full equality of citizenship or gender justice. 

Freshers 2013