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West Africa

Hashtagging Girlhood: #IAmMalala, #BringBackOurGirls and Gendering Representations of Global Politics


Berents, Helen. 2016. “Hashtagging Girlhood: #IAmMalala, #BringBackOurGirls and Gendering Representations of Global Politics.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 18 (4): 513–27.

Author: Helen Berents


This article explores how gendered, racial and youth-ed concepts of girlhood shape the way conflict, violence and the lived experiences of girls in conflict-affected environments are understood globally. In particular, it examines the broader context and effect of social media campaigns that specifically invoke a concept of “girlhood” in their responses to crisis or tragedy. It focuses on two hashtags and their associated social media campaigns: #IAmMalala, started in response to the attempted killing of Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012 by Taliban gunmen, and #BringBackOurGirls, started by Nigerians and adopted globally in response to the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls by terrorist group Boko Haram. In both instances, understandings of the broader political context are shaped by the focus on girls. Both hashtags also appropriate an experience: claiming to be Malala and claiming the Nigerian girls as ours. Through this exploration, I argue that particular ideals of girlhood are coded within these campaigns, and that these girls’ experiences are appropriated. I critique the limited representations of girlhood that circulate in these discussions, and how these limited representations demonstrate the problematic narrowness of dominant conceptions of girlhood.

Keywords: Girlhood, activism, social media, Malala Yousafzai, Chibok girls

Topics: Age, Youth, Education, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Race, Terrorism, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa, Asia, South Asia Countries: Nigeria, Pakistan

Year: 2016

Gender Differentials in Transportation Characteristics of Students of Tertiary Education Institutions in Ilorin, Nigeria


Usman, B.A., and O.F. Akinola. 2017. “Gender Differentials in Transportation Characteristics of Students of Tertiary Education Institutions in Ilorin, Nigeria.” Geography 15: 91-106.

Authors: B.A. Usman, O.F. Akinola


Women tend to be exposed to more restrictions in their mobility requirements than men and a lot of evidence from research has shown that there are differences between males and females in terms of the access, usage pattern and burden of transport. This study examines the usage of transport modes, transportation problems and adaptation strategies of male and female students in Ilorin city. A total of 381 students were sampled from four higher educational institutions in the city. The data were analysed using simple percentages, tables, graphs and chi-square statistical technique. Results show that more males (16.7%) than females (9.2%) travel by bus while 28.3% of the females as against 23.3% of the males travel to school by taxi. Magnitude of various transportation problems was also found to differ between the sexes. The difference in modal choice between the males and females was however, not significant at 0.05 level of significance. In addition, the study shows that the male and female students significantly perceive the magnitude of the various transportation problems differently and also significantly differ in their adjustment to these problems. Recommendations include the provision of more on-campus hostel accommodation particularly for female students, provision of more school buses and adoption of separate queues for males and females at bus stops.

Keywords: gender differences, travel behavior, campuses, transport modes, transportation problems

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Transportation Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2017

Land Grabbing and the Gendered Livelihood Experience of Smallholder Farmers in Northern Ghana: Through a Human Development and Capability Lens


Agbley, Gideon Kofi. 2019. "Land Grabbing and the Gendered Livelihood Experience of Smallholder Farmers in Northern Ghana: Through a Human Development and Capability Lens." Ghana Journal of Development Studies 16 (1): 155-80.


Author: Gideon Kofi Agbley


The phenomenon of land grabbing in developing countries has led to worsening livelihood choices for smallholder farmers who depended on communal lands for subsistence. While previous analyses of land grabs were framed in a paradigm that emphasised outcomes, this study is framed within a human development approach which places emphasis on both outcomes and procedural concerns. The procedural concerns are in relation to representation prior to and during negotiations for land acquisitions. The study is based on analysis of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions to assess BioFuel Africa Limited’s investments in two communities in northern Ghana. Results show the company is no longer operating its jatropha (jatropha curcas) plantation and therefore the inability to provide jobs promised. Meanwhile the clearing of large contiguous tracts of lands have had devastating impacts on the livelihoods of women and men. The study revealed that there was poor participation of women in all stages and processes of the land acquisitions for the project, and that the land acquirer had failed to fully implement the procedural concerns of equity, efficiency, participation and sustainability in the acquisitions of lands for the project. It is recommended that large-scale land deals should be conditioned on proper disposal and utilization of lands within specified time frames, failure for which land is reverted to original use.


Keywords: land grabs, equity, efficiency, participation, sustainability

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Land Grabbing, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2019

Gender and Land Tenure in Ghana: A Synthesis of the Literature


Britwum, Akua O., Dzodzi Tsikata, Angela D. Akorsu, and Matilda Aberese Ako. 2014. “Gender and Land Tenure in Ghana: A Synthesis of the Literature.” Technical Publication No. 92. Ghana: ISSER, Institute of Statistical, Social & Economic Research, University of Ghana.


Authors: Akua O. Britwum , Dzodzi Tsikata, Angela D. Akorsu , Matilda Aberese Ako


“This technical paper is part of the ISSER ActionAid-Ghana Gender and Land Rights Project that seeks to address, through research and advocacy, critical issues of women’s land rights. The Gender and Land Rights Project is premised on the notion that agriculture continues to engage the vast majority of working people in Ghana despite evidence pointing to the intensification of livelihood diversification and a reduction in the proportion of the population living in rural areas” (Britwum et al. 2014, 1).

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Land Tenure, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2014

Women and Land Tenure Security: The Nigerian Experience


Adeyemo, Remi, Michael Kirk, and Olaitan Olusegun. 2019. “Women and Land Tenure Security: The Nigerian Experience.” International Journal of Agricultural Economics 4 (2): 41-7.

Authors: Remi Adeyemo, Michael Kirk, Olaitan Olusegun


This study investigated the farm level efficiency and farm income among tenure secured and unsecured women farmers in Osun State, Nigeria. Structured questionnaires were used to obtain information from one hundred and fifty farmers. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics, stochastic frontier and farm budget analyses. Results from the farm budget analysis showed that women with secured land tenure generated higher income which was one hundred and fifty four thousand naira while that of women with unsecured land tenure was about eighty two thousand naira. Additional analysis revealed that land tenure secured women farmers were more efficient (64%) than their counterparts with unsecured tenure (48%). There was an overwhelming affirmation arising from the study which confirmed that women with tenure security were better off with respect to farm efficiency and farm income than women with unsecured tenure. 

Keywords: land, tenure, women, gender and efficiency, food, Rights

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Land Tenure Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2019

If You Don’t Find Anything, You Can’t Eat’ – Mining Livelihoods and Income, Gender Roles, and Food Choices in Northern Guinea


Stokes-Walters, Ronald, Mohammed Lamine Fofana, Joseph Lamilé Songbono, Alpha Oumar Barry, Sadio Diallo, Stella Nordhagen, Laetitia X. Zhang, Rolf D. Klemm, and Peter J. Winch. 2021. “‘If You Don’t Find Anything, You Can’t Eat’ – Mining Livelihoods and Income, Gender Roles, and Food Choices in Northern Guinea.” Resources Policy 70 (March).


Authors: Ronald Stokes-Walters, Mohammed Lamine Fofana, Joseph Lamilé Songbono, Alpha Oumar Barry, Sadio Diallo, Stella Nordhagen, Laetitia X. Zhang, Rolf D. Klemm, Peter J. Winch


Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) continues to grow as a viable economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa. The health and environmental impacts of the industry, notably linked to the use of potentially toxic chemicals, has been well documented. What has not been explored to the same extent is how pressures associated with ASM affect food choices of individuals and families living in mining camps. This paper presents research conducted in 18 mining sites in northern Guinea exploring food choices and the various factors affecting food decision-making practices. Two of the most influential factors to emerge from this study are income variability and gender roles. Results from this study suggest that through artisanal mining, women have the opportunity to earn a larger income that would otherwise be unavailable through agriculture. However, this benefit of potentially earning a larger income is often reduced or constrained by existing gender roles both at the mines and in the home, such as disparity in pay between men and women and increased pressures on women’s time. This limits the potential benefit to household food decision-making that could have been gained from higher income. These results do not seek to establish one livelihood as superior; rather, they demonstrate that even when presented with opportu­nities to earn higher incomes, women still face many of the same barriers and challenges that they would in other economic activities. Additionally, while work and time demands on women change upon arrival in the mining camps, existing gender roles and expectations do not, further restricting women’s decision-making capacity.

Keywords: artisanal mining, food choice, women's workload, income instability, Guinea

Topics: Extractive Industries, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Guinea

Year: 2021

Gender Roles in Nigeria’s Non-Violent Oil Resistance Movement


Munir, Laine. 2020. “Gender Roles in Nigeria’s Non-Violent Oil Resistance Movement.” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne Des éTudes Africaines 55 (1): 79–97.


Author: Laine Munir


Since the 1980s, Nigerians have engaged in non-violent protests against oil exploitation polluting their lands. This qualitative case study asks why Niger Delta women came to engage in seemingly separate, all-female protests starting in 2002, mobilizing in a long-standing resistance previously led by men. Using grounded theory methods, this multi-site ethnography draws on one-on-one interviews, participant observations, and university and non-governmental organization archival data. It finds that although women were indeed aggrieved by oil, their protests from 2002 to 2012 did not emerge autonomously from those of men, as described in scholarship elsewhere. Rather, these findings indicate that male elites may have had a role in initiating women’s collective action in response to their own failed prior negotiations, to increase the number of protesters, and to bolster men’s dialogue. This study provides a nuanced corrective to the Niger Delta narrative and expands our understanding of gender dynamics in social movements.

Depuis les années 80, les nigérians se sont engagés dans des protestations non-violentes contre l’exploitation pétrolière qui pollue leurs terres. Cette étude de cas qualitative examine pourquoi les femmes du delta du Niger en sont venues, à partir de 2002, à s’engager dans des protestations apparemment distinctes, entièrement féminines, en se mobilisant dans une résistance de longue date menée par des hommes auparavant. Fondée sur des méthodes de théorie ancrée, cette ethnographie multi-sites s’appuie sur des entretiens individuels, des observations participantes et des données d’archives universitaires et d’organisations non-gouvernementales. Elle révèle que si les femmes ont effectivement été lésées par l’exploitation pétrolière, leurs protestations de 2002 à 2012 n’ont pas émergé de celles des hommes de manière autonome, comme l’a décrit une autre étude. Ces résultats indiquent plutôt que les élites masculines ont peutêtre joué un rôle dans le lancement de l’action collective des femmes, en réaction à l’échec de leurs propres négociations préalables, pour augmenter le nombre de manifestants et renforcer le dialogue entre hommes. Cette étude apporte une correction nuancée au récit du delta du Niger et élargit notre compréhension de la dynamique des genres dans les mouvements sociaux.

Keywords: women, protest, Nigeria, environmental conflict, femmes, protestation, conflit environnemental, théorie ancrée, Grounded Theory

Topics: Conflict, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Nonviolence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2020

Women Leading Change: Re-Shaping Gender in Ghanaian Mines


Kilu, Rufai Haruna, Adesuwa Omorede, Maria Uden, and Mohammed-Aminu Sanda. 2020. "Women Leading Change: Re-Shaping Gender in Ghanaian Mines." International Journal of Development Issues 20 (1): 113-25.

Authors: Rufai Haruna Kilu, Adesuwa Omorede, Maria Uden, Mohammed-Aminu Sanda


There is growing attention towards inclusive mining to make an economic case for gender equality and diversity in the industry. Available literature lacks sufficient empirical evidence on the subject matter in Ghana. Therefore, this paper aims to understudy women miners in Ghana and document their role in recent change regimes in mine works gender profiles. An observed change that is stimulating a shift in background dispositions leads to increasing number of women taking up mine jobs.

In working towards achieving the aim of the study, both qualitative design and a multiple case study approaches are deployed. Four multinational Ghanaian mines and a mining and technology university were used to understudy the women miners and their role towards a change in mine work gender perspectives.

The results showed a regime of “ore-solidarity movement” (women in mining – Ghana). A kind of solidarity identified conventionally as a social movement in active resource and self-mobilization, engaged in a symbolic contestation for change of the status quo (dominant masculinity cultures) in furtherance of gender equity and inclusion in milieu of mine works reforms in Ghana.

The study is of high scientific, political and public interest to better understand women’s movements in the mining industries in Ghana and to frame them theoretically. It offers solid empirical evidence on roles women miners play to ensure gender shape-shifting and liberalizing the mining space for women’s participation. This move towards inclusive mining implies poverty eradication among women, work towards achieving sustainable mining, competitiveness and assurance for gender-driven social innovative mining.

Keywords: social movements, equal opportunities, gender equality, change regimes, mine works, women in mining, Ghana

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2021

Creating a Gender-Inclusive Mining Industry: Uncovering the Challenges of Female Mining Stakeholders


Kansake, Bruno Ayaga, Georgette Barnes Sakyi-Addo, and Nelson Kofi Dumakor-Dupey. 2021. “Creating a Gender-Inclusive Mining Industry: Uncovering the Challenges of Female Mining Stakeholders.” Resources Policy 70 (March).

Authors: Bruno Ayaga Kansake, Georgette Barnes Sakyi-Addo, Nelson Kofi Dumakor-Dupey


The global mining industry is male dominated. In the US, women constitute 13% of the mining workforce and 16% of mining related college programs. Similar trends exist globally. Efforts are being made by educational institutions, mining companies and professional organizations to attract women to the industry to achieve a gender inclusive industry. Such efforts have yielded minimal dividends partly due to insufficient reliable data on challenges confronting female miners. To provide empirical data to guide such efforts, we undertook a survey to understand the reasons for low female participation in the industry with participants from Ghana, USA, Ireland, Canada and other countries. The survey sought to identify challenges faced by female mining stakeholders and availability of support facilities for handling these challenges. Open and closed ended questionnaires were administered through online platforms. The responses were analyzed quantitatively using summary statistics and qualitatively using thematic analysis. About 38% of the respondents expressed satisfaction with their current jobs. The high dissatisfaction rate stems from lower salaries compared to male counterparts (29%), gender-based discrimination (53%), sexual harassment (37%) and sexual demands during hiring (17%). The key hindrances to a gender inclusive mining sector have been grouped into seven themes including discrimination, harassment, gender ideologies, and lack of support. We propose a four-way mind map model requiring commitment from government, companies, chambers of mines, and employees to ensure a gender inclusive mining industry.

Keywords: gender inclusion, diversity, mining industry, female stakeholders, discrimination, harassment

Topics: Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Africa, West Africa, Americas, North America, Europe, Western Europe Countries: Canada, Ghana, Ireland, United States of America

Year: 2021

Gendered Division of Labour and “Sympathy” in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Prestea-Huni Valley Municipality, Ghana


Arthur-Holmes, Francis. 2021. “Gendered Division of Labour and ‘Sympathy’ in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Prestea-Huni Valley Municipality, Ghana.” Journal of Rural Studies 81: 358–62. 

Author: Francis Arthur-Holmes


Understanding the gender relations and dynamics in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is crucial for formalization interventions and gender-sensitive on-site policies in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, there is very little research on how gender influences women’s economic opportunities and power relations at ASM sites in Ghana. Drawing from a qualitative research in the Prestea-Huni Valley Municipality, Ghana, this paper examines the local gender dynamics and division of labour in ASM. Findings show that while men were mainly engaged in the extraction – digging, shoveling and loading of women’s head pans with mineral ore – and processing work at the colluvial mining sites, women were basically working as labourers for the men. The women were directly involved in three main activities – provision of water on mineralised sand, transportation of gold ore and forewomen role – where they received lower remuneration for their labour. In relation to women’s access to “dig and wash” work and hard rock mining sites, there was an element of “gendered sympathy” which involved some power dimensions in ASM. In this paper, the empirical analysis of gendered division of labour in ASM provides the basis to understand the gendered organization of ASM and its management structure.

Keywords: artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), gender relations, gendered division of labour, gendered sympathy, women artisanal miners, Ghana, Sub-Saharan Africa

Topics: Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Men, Women, Gendered Power Relations Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2021


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