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Women in national liberation wars in the settler colonies of Kenya and Zimbabwe: pathways to political empowerment

Kombo, Eudora Ebitimi (2012) Women in national liberation wars in the settler colonies of Kenya and Zimbabwe: pathways to political empowerment. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Throughout the 20th century African women have challenged their subordinate status both under European colonial rule and under their post-independence governments. Women have used protest action, membership in nationalist political parties, participation in national liberation wars, and the use of autonomous women’s organizations to advance their political status. During anti-colonial liberation wars in Algeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa, women were combatants, civilian activists and supporters providing non-combat services with the expectation of advancing their interests and acquiring new political rights after independence (Becker, 1995). Yet after playing such vital roles in the liberation of their countries women are still politically underrepresented in most post- liberation countries. Using case studies of Kenya and Zimbabwe this research will evaluate whether or not women’s military and non-combat roles during national liberation wars empowered them politically in their post-independence nations. I will use the empowerment framework to argue that during the wars of liberation in Kenya and Zimbabwe the nationalist parties did not articulate a clear ideology of women’s liberation or empowerment, but that instead they incorporated ideologies which regenerated traditional culture and which negatively impacted women’s political empowerment. I will show that due to colonial oppression women’s political consciousness progressively deepened and motivated them to participate in the liberation wars. I will investigate what roles women’s organizations have played both during the wars and in the post-liberation era in women’s continued struggles for political advancement in their independent states. This research is a text-based analysis of the ideas advanced above, using available scholarly materials from books, journal articles, and data from the Inter Parliamentary Union and from United Nations Women documents. I also use online material from specific women’s organizations from Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Keywords: African women in politics; African women's organizations; resistance to colonialism; women's empowerment
Academic Units: The University of York > Centre for Women's Studies (York)
Depositing User: Ms Eudora Ebitimi Kombo
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2012 09:48
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2600

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