Between Women's Rights and Men's Authority: Masculinity and Shifting Discourses of Gender Difference in Urban Uganda


Wyrod, Robert. 2008. “Between Women’s Rights and Men’s Authority: Masculinity and Shifting Discourses of Gender Difference in Urban Uganda.” Gender & Society 22 (6): 799–823. doi:10.1177/0891243208325888.

Author: Robert Wyrod


Across the African continent, women’s rights have become integral to international declarations, regional treaties, national legislation, and grassroots activism. Yet there is little research on how African men have understood these shifts and how African masculinities are implicated in such changes. Drawing on a year of ethnographic research in the Ugandan capital Kampala, this article investigates how ordinary men and women in Uganda understand women’ s rights and how their attitudes are tied to local conceptions of masculinity. The author argues that a new configuration of gender relations is evident in urban Uganda—one that accommodates some aspects of women’s rights while retaining previous notions of innate male authority. This article therefore illustrates the complex and often contradictory engagements with human rights that occur in local contexts and how such engagements are shaped by—and are shaping—gender relations, including conceptions of masculinity.

Keywords: women's rights, human rights, masculinity, Africa, Uganda

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2008

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