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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Perceiving Women as Catalysts
Author:Ekechi, Felix K.ISNI
Year:1996
Periodical:Africa Today
Volume:43
Issue:3
Pages:235-249
Language:English
Geographic terms:Ethiopia
Nigeria
Kenya
Africa
Subjects:protest
women
Women's Issues
Development and Technology
Historical/Biographical
Politics and Government
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
Status of Women
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4187107
Abstract:African women have long been perceived as docile, 'bound to home and hearth', submissive to male authority and even politically inert or passive. This paper argues that under certain circumstances women in Africa have forcefully 'challenged not only male but also colonial authority, sometimes successfully'. Women are perceived as catalysts in the sense that their actions have resulted in far-reaching social and political change. The argument is illustrated with examples from three African countries. The case of Ethiopia focuses on the activities of Empress Taytu (Taitou), the wife of Emperor Menelik (1844-1913). Historical accounts acknowledge her pivotal role in influencing the outcome of the 1895-1896 Ethiopian-Italian crisis. The case of Kenya concerns Kikuyu women's collective action against the British colonial establishment during the 1922 Harry Thuku incident. The exploitation of women through the colonial forced labour policy was offensive to Thuku, a Kenyan nationalist. On 16 March 1922 Kikuyu women attempted to rescue him from incarceration. Perhaps the most celebrated illustration of a successful protest movement by women is the 1929 Women's War in eastern Nigeria, which was essentially triggered by the introduction of direct taxation in the region by the British colonial administration in 1928. Ref.
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