This co-written Editorial introduces the fourth issue of Nokoko, which explores the themes, challenges, and opportunities in women’s rights and gender equality in Africa. The volume celebrates African women’s activism and struggles for their rights and social space to contribute to the continent’s development and democratization processes. Along with a supportive development community, women’s activism has resulted in notable progress in gender-responsive policy formulation, legislative reforms, and program and project design. The activism has also led to greater participation in political and decision-making processes throughout the continent. Still, widespread poverty, conflicts and wars, environmental degradation, drought, food insecurity, sexual violence, human trafficking, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic continue to disproportionately hurt rural women and the urban poor. The global financial crisis has exacerbated these problems. Moreover, African women themselves do not have a uniform outlook on gender relations, pa- triarchy, and ways to improve their situation. Although there has been a long-standing focus to “help women” by a wider-range of social forces in colonial and postcolonial Africa (e.g., missionaries, government officials, political parties, women’s groups, feminists, and international development agencies), such efforts sometimes cause grief and dislocation, rather than benefits for different groups of women.
I research economic and environmental anthropology and resource extraction in Colombia and New Brunswick. This is my personal blog.