Women and Colonialism in West Africa.

Women and Colonialism in West Africa.

Author by Dr. Gift Ntiwunka

Journal/Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan,

Volume/Edition: 10

Language: English

Pages: 1 - 16


This chapter offers a detailed explanation of the significant roles women in West Africa played in their various societies to ensure the survival and wellbeing of their people. Precolonial West African Societies were noted to play complimentary roles for men and women in political, economic and socio-cultural activities. Paradoxically, with the advent of colonialism, the conducive relationship and atmosphere that coexisted between male and female was bastardized, therefore women were relegated to the background as the colonial ruler stigmatized and marginalized them. Colonial administration through their policies also gave more recognition to men at the expense of women. The female gender lost control over land and means of survival. The adoption of indirect rule, the imposition of taxes and appointment of illegitimate rulers was the straw that broke the camel’s back. This led to nationalist and liberation struggles by women in different parts of the region where women resisted colonial rule in different forms. Despite the negative impact of colonialism, West African women have made significant efforts to shake off the debilitating shackles of colonialism.

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