Women's Activism in Africa

Struggles for Rights and Representation

Edited by Balghis Badri and Aili Mari Tripp


An indispensable overview of women’s activism and political struggles in contemporary Africa, and the ways in which the continent's women are shaping the struggle for women’s rights internationally.

Throughout Africa, growing numbers of women are coming together and making their voices heard, mobilising around causes ranging from democracy and land rights to campaigns against domestic violence. In Tanzania and Tunisia, women have made major gains in their struggle for equal political rights, and in Sierra Leone and Liberia women have been at the forefront of efforts to promote peace and reconciliation. While some of these movements have been influenced by international feminism and external donors, increasingly it is African women who are shaping the global struggle for women’s rights.

Bringing together African authors who themselves are part of the activist groups, this collection represents the only comprehensive and up-to-date overview of women’s movements in contemporary Africa. Drawing on case studies and fresh empirical material from across the continent, the authors challenge the prevailing assumption that notions of women’s rights have trickled down from the global north to the south, showing instead that these movements have been shaped by above all the unique experiences and concerns of the local women involved.

Author Bio

Balghis Badri is a professor of social anthropology and director of the Regional Institute for Gender, Diversity, Peace and Rights at Ahfad University for Women, Sudan. 

Aili Mari Tripp is a professor of political science and gender & women’s studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Table of Contents

  • 1. African Influences on Global Women’s Rights: An Overview - Aili Mari Tripp and Balghis Badri
  • 2. The Evolution of the Women’s Movement in Sierra Leone - Nana Claris Efua Pratt
  • 3. Market Women’s Associations in Ghana - Akua Opokua Britwum and Angela Dziedzom Akorsu
  • 4. Tunisian Women’s Literature of Denunciation - Lilia Labidi
  • 5. The Moroccan Feminist Movement (1946–2014) - Fatima Sadiqi
  • 6. Women’s Rights and the Women’s Movement in Sudan (1952–2014) - Samia Al Nagar and Liv Tønnessen
  • 7. The Women's Movement in Tanzania - Aili Mari Tripp
  • 8. The Women’s Movement in Kenya - Regina G. Mwatha
  • 9. Women Organising for Liberation: South Africa - Sheila Meintjes
  • 10. African Women Activists: Contributions and Challenges Ahead - Balghis Badri


‘This compact volume on women’s activism is among the best and most useful I have seen. The editors, bolstered by excellent contributions, turn conventional wisdom about African women on its head.’
Sondra Hale, UCLA (Emerita)

‘The contributors represent scholarship and activism from diverse regions, and their work broadens our understanding of current African feminist discourses.’
Josephine Beoku-Betts, Florida Atlantic University

‘Coming from African scholars, this captivating book makes a much needed contribution to the current literature. This is a must read.’
Kathleen Fallon, Stony Brook University

‘Harnesses women’s voices and experiences across Africa to help build a common heritage of protest and activism which is normally left out of histories of the struggles of African states. It is a must read.’
Wanjiku Kabira, University of Nairobi, Kenya

'Women’s Activism in Africa is an act of epistemological social justice, as it reveals the important, yet overlooked, role that women have been playing on the continental and global stage.'
International Feminist Journal of Politics

'An enjoyable, informative read, a concise yet richly detailed and timely addition to knowledge on women’s activism in Africa, and a strong foundation for research on young African feminisms … invaluable reading for students and scholars of feminist politics all over the world.'
Social Movement Studies

'Badri and Tripp have assembled a remarkable collec-tion of essays by impressive, accomplished women that challenges masculinist histories of political change and challenges.'
African Studies Review

'This is an excellent contribution to the literature on African feminism and international women’s rights agendas … valuable to students and researchers of African politics, development studies, human rights and gender studies, as well as policymakers.'
Journal of Modern African Studies

'A valuable and thought-provoking volume. In illuminating less familiar aspects of women’s politics in Africa, [the book] contributes to our wider understanding of the dynamics of (national) women’s movements and of the contemporary global movement for women’s rights.'
Commonwealth and Comparative Politics

'A very inspiring and necessary read at a time when women's voices are regularly muffled.'
Strategic Review for Southern Africa

'(An) excellent collection of essays on women’s activism in Africa ... The volume’s message is thus both celebratory and deeply realistic.'


Publication Date: 15 February 2017
264 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781783609086
Hardback: 9781783609093
eBook ePub: 9781783609116
eBook PDF: 9781783609109
eBook Kindle: 9781783609123

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