African Feminists

AWDF organized an African Feminist Forum in Ghana in 2006 with over 200 feminist activists who adopted a Charter of Feminist Principles. Seeking to reenergize African feminism, they committed to ending patriarchy and declared they were feminists without any qualifying “buts” or “ifs.”[i] They pointed out that modern African states were “built off the backs of African Feminists who fought alongside men for the liberation of the continent.” However, a Nigerian feminist reported that when African women gather nothing creates so awkward a silence as feminism or what’s perceived to be man-hating.[ii]

From Zimbabwe, Fungai Machirori added to the list of patriarchal practices the belief that men are the head of the family, dismissing women’s contribution to art and literature, yet in her country “feminism still has negative connotations.” [iii]The term “gender mainstreaming” is used instead. She studied feminism in college but associated it with white Western women, not herself. Freda Muyambo, a feminist from Ghana, stated that “Africa is largely a patriarchal society, and this has had a negative impact,” limiting women’s career choice, right to own land and control her finances. When she was an engineering student, her teacher told her she didn’t belong and when she assembled a bookcase, her landlord tried to take over because women shouldn’t do that kind of work. Rose Odengo said that “our men don’t know how to appreciate the new face of African womanhood.”

[i] http://www.awdf.org/downloads/

[ii] Spectra,

[iii] Maeve Shearlaw, “An Influential, Vibrant, Exciting Force: Defining African Feminism, Guardian Africa Network, April 29, 2014.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/29/defining-african-feminism-join-the-debate

[1] http://www.awdf.org/downloads/

[1] Spectra,

[1] Maeve Shearlaw, “An Influential, Vibrant, Exciting Force: Defining African Feminism, Guardian Africa Network, April 29, 2014.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/29/defining-african-feminism-join-the-debate

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