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African Studies & Feminism - Term Paper Example

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Van Allen’s analysis (1972) makes the important point that Colonialism caused a tremendous amount of loss to Igbo women. This challenges the common view that Colonialism was a good thing, and that it saved women from all kinds of barbarous practices…
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Download file to see previous pages Van Allen’s analysis (1972) makes the important point that Colonialism caused a tremendous amount of loss to Igbo women. This challenges the common view that Colonialism was a good thing, and that it saved women from all kinds of barbarous practices. This reason is the transfer of sexist and discriminatory attitudes from the colonial powers to African society such as the view that “politics was a man’s concern” (Van Allen, 1972, p.165-166). Finally, this article clearly demonstrates that a sophisticated village-by-village system of government had operated very successfully before the colonial powers arrived, and that it was elimination of the village assembly, in which all villagers had the right to speak, that did the most damage to the position of Igbo women in their society. The voice of women in village affairs was silenced and they were thus prevented from participating in decisions that affected their lives and the lives of their families. This article shows the harm that was done by Colonialism, in the name of progress, and identifies the source of the modern day oppression of Igbo women as being the Colonial powers, and not local ideas and customs, The report by O’Barr et al. captures the enthusiasm and the main resolutions of a massive meeting of 14,000 women called to mark the end of the United Nations Decade for Women.A key outcome was the realization that the enormous differences that exist between the experiences of women in very different countries are likely to continue on into the future, and the meeting resolved to ensure that these differences would “generate a creative strength, not draining weakness, in the effort to implement a women’s agenda nationally and internationally” ...
The diversity of voices is a deliberate tactic to illustrate a second important finding: there will not be a one-size-fits-all solution to problems that affect women world-wide. Themes such as divorce, aging, widowhood and non-marriage show considerable convergence between Third World and Western women’s experiences, but some areas such as poverty and exclusion from education and healthcare are highlighted as being very different, depending on location (O’Barr et al. 1986, p. 592). A third important contribution in this article is the factor of race, and it was noted that women of African descent in particular had to deal with the issue of racial privilege, most usually accorded to white women, and in some countries this was compounded by issues like ethnic and gender segregation imposed by the state in question. Although this article is not formed into a smooth and logical argument, like the Van Allen (1972) article it nevertheless makes a powerful statement through its multifaceted approach, giving a full range of information from many perspectives. It shows that women in the world face many different challenges, and that efforts to tackle them will need to be varied and flexible, in order to adapt to each situation. Above all, the coming together of leading women in great numbers gives a tremendous boost to those involved, and it creates a momentum for political change that ripples across the globe. The most striking feature of Amina Mama’s article on Gender Studies for Africa’s Transformation (2003) is that it represents a new generation’s perspective. It builds on the work of papers such as the two mentioned above, and reports on scholarly work and teaching conducted by African women and for African ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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