By Kathleen E. Sheldon
Although women have long been active residents in African cities, explorations of their contributions have been marginal. This volume brings women into the center of the urban landscape, using case studies to illustrate their contributions to family, community, work, and political life. The book begins with a rich introduction that discusses how women's work in trade and agriculture has been the foundation of African urbanization. The contributors then focus on patterns of migration and urbanization, with an emphasis on the personal and social issues that influence the decision to migrate from rural areas; women's employment in varied activities from selling crafts to managing small businesses; the sometimes unavoidable practice of prostitution when options are limited ; the emergence of complex new family formations deriving from access to courts and the continued strength of polygyny; and women's participation in community and political activities. The volume includes material from all regions of sub-Saharan Africa and brings together scholars from all the social sciences.