Constructions of Gender in the Nationalist Discourses of the Obiang Regime


Allan, Joanna. 2019."Constructions of Gender in the Nationalist Discourses of the Obiang Regime." In Silenced Resistance: Women, Dictatorships, and Genderwashing in Western Sahara and Equatorial Guinea, 131-52. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Author: Joanna Allan


"In this chapter, I deconstruct the images of gender that are projected in the nationalist discourses of the Obiang regime and attempt to explain the ideological functions of such imaginations. This serves to add to wider research on African examples of “state feminism.” By focusing on Obiang, I show how an oppressive authoritarian regime employs constructions of gender (equality) to further its own ends. I compare this with observations of the previous chapter, to illustrate how similar mechanisms of discourse can be used for very different purposes. That is to say, POLISARIO used particular constructions of gender and “gender equality” to strengthen the national liberation movement and has been largely successful in making these part of hegemonic nationalist discourse. Obiang uses similar discourses on gender equality to oppress his population, often through domination rather than hegemony.
"First, I describe how Obiang came to power and how he has attempted to build a national identity, with himself as its foundation. I also explain how the Equatoguinean government is structured. This helps us establish the extent to which Obiang and government discourse are one and the same. Then, I move on to deconstruct gender and gender equality in regime discourse, before exploring the internal and external functions of such constructions. Finally, taking into account that the oil industry today dominates the economy of Equatorial Guinea, I look at what oil has meant for women’s socioeconomic opportunities" (Allan 2019, 131-2). 

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Equatorial Guinea

Year: 2019

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