African Women: A Modern History

By Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch; Beth Gillian Raps | Go to book overview
Save to active project

15
Women and Politics: Resistance and Action in West Africa

We know little about women's role at the end of the nineteenth century during the period of resistance to the colonial conquests except for the special case of the female warriors' devotion unto death to King Behanzin of Abomey. During the colonial period and even beyond, women's resistance was directly connected with their economic power. West African women, especially market women, and South African urban women defended the rights that were being swept away by the colonizers, persevering in a way that often made them stronger than the colonial officers in their obstinacy, level of organization, and courage. Though it may not have been their original goal, these women in effect played a political role. They deliberately entered politics as such only late in the game, however, probably because it had always been reserved for men. It became even more men's arena under colonialism because only men were allowed to make their voices heard and in some cases even to vote. In western Africa, particularly in the English- speaking areas, indirect rule caused the colonizers to institute certain reforms earlier than elsewhere. Except in Freetown, where well-to-do women obtained the vote in 1930, however, almost no kind of political life for women began before the 1950s--not much later than in France, where women could not vote until 1945. Change was abrupt and somewhat unexpected in French West Africa, where suffrage, which had been very narrow was expanded in 1952 to include mothers of two children. Because almost all women were at twenty-one (the age of majority in that era) married mothers, women's votes gained particular importance because for a brief time

-159-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
African Women: A Modern History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 308

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?