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African feminism

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-Z019-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2005
Retrieved April 14, 2024, from

Article Summary

The distinctiveness of African feminism lies in its social and humanistic thrust, which recognizes that unequal power relations can be based not only on gender, but also on race, class, national origin and other social divisions. It is inspired by struggles that transcend gender, and that are shaped by historical processes of external domination and exploitation. These include the trans-Atlantic slave trade, colonization, structural racism and corporate globalization. The global political economy continues to have a largely negative impact on African women and men and to destabilize African societies. African feminism finds expression in activism for economic, social and humanistic transformation through women’s associations. These associations seek to empower women by promoting economic, political and legal participation, peace building, female education and accessible health care. They also protest against the negative effects of global economic forces. African feminism is often in conflict with Western feminism and its hegemonic tendencies, holding that it fails effectively to address concerns about corporate globalization, race, class and other social divisions. Western feminism it finds largely to be fuelled by an anti-male ideology and rooted in individualistic preoccupations with gender equality in jobs, positions, power and sexual expression, while focusing less on social and humanistic transformations.

Citing this article:
Chioma Steady, Filomina. African feminism, 2005, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-Z019-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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