Event Title

The Political Agency of Women in Colonial Africa

Presenter Information

Ruth NwokoraFollow

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Amentahru Wahlrab

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Date of Publication

April 2021

Abstract

This paper asks the question, what was the political agency of women during pre-colonial, anti-colonial, and post-colonial political times? First, this paper shows that African women contributed immensely to the decolonization process. Without women's constant rebellion, protests, riots, and battles, the continent's independence would have come much later. To show this, this paper gives details of the Ashanti warriors of Ghana, the riotous women of Eastern Nigeria, and the Senegalese women who marched against the French empire. The second part of this paper focuses on the roles played by African women in the development of the post-colonial state. In this period, the political agency of women was often stymied by western ideologies that were intended to keep women "in their place." Studies have shown, in this way, how African women were colonized twice: once by the Western powers and their religions, and second by African elites that denied women access to economic and political power. African women, however, continue to resist oppression and fight for their place in society. They have seen numerous successes, including electing more women presidents than any region in the world.

Keywords

Decolonization, African women, political agency.

Persistent Identifier

http://hdl.handle.net/10950/3118

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The Political Agency of Women in Colonial Africa

This paper asks the question, what was the political agency of women during pre-colonial, anti-colonial, and post-colonial political times? First, this paper shows that African women contributed immensely to the decolonization process. Without women's constant rebellion, protests, riots, and battles, the continent's independence would have come much later. To show this, this paper gives details of the Ashanti warriors of Ghana, the riotous women of Eastern Nigeria, and the Senegalese women who marched against the French empire. The second part of this paper focuses on the roles played by African women in the development of the post-colonial state. In this period, the political agency of women was often stymied by western ideologies that were intended to keep women "in their place." Studies have shown, in this way, how African women were colonized twice: once by the Western powers and their religions, and second by African elites that denied women access to economic and political power. African women, however, continue to resist oppression and fight for their place in society. They have seen numerous successes, including electing more women presidents than any region in the world.