African Women's Movements in the Twentieth Century: A Hidden History

Citation:

Berger, Iris. 2014. “African Women’s Movements in the Twentieth Century: A Hidden History.” African Studies Review 57 (3): 1–19. 

 

Author: Iris Berger

Abstract:

This article begins by exploring the efforts of African women’s movements from the 1990s onward to end violent civil conflicts and to insist on guarantees of gender equity in newly formed governments. It attempts to explain these recent successes first by examining the complex relationships between international women’s movements and African women’s groups from the Second World War onward, particularly from the era of the U.N. Decade for Women beginning in 1975. The article then turns to a broader problem: exploring the connections between contemporary women’s activism and deeper currents in African history that link the precolonial period with the more recent past. By examining a variety of twentieth-century women’s protests, it argues that cloaked in the language of political, economic, and environmental grievances, these movements also reflect a hidden history of women’s influence as public healers, empowered not only to cure individuals, but also to mend broader relationships in the community.

Keywords: women, empowerment, protest movements, healing, international women's movements, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Conflict Prevention, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Post-Conflict, Rights, Women's Rights, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Kenya, Nigeria

Year: 2014

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.