Gender in Africa

  • Olabisi Sherifat Yusuff
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 71)


Gender continues to be a major issue in the development discourse worldwide. Generally, literature is replete with the marginalization of women in development strategies, hence one of the major factors that contribute to the failure of most development strategies in Africa. It is a known fact that women are economically active in Africa as farmers, workers and entrepreneurs. Yet, within patriarchal societies, they face an array of barriers that prevent them from playing an active role to their full potential to the extent that they can contribute meaningfully and sufficiently to Africa’s development. Gender and development approaches, and many authors within the context of gender and development approaches, have indicated that in bringing women to the mainstream of development, the roles of men in society in relation to women must be brought into consideration. The objective of this chapter therefore is to examine the concept of gender in Africa within a broad development framework. The research questions this chapter intends to answer include: What is gender in Africa? What are the conceptual, theoretical, and empirical and policy issues around gender and development in Africa? What is the social construct of gender in Africa? What is an African Gender Equality Index and what implications does it hold for Africa? In recent times, how does gender manifest in Africa and how has it affected the development of nations on the continent? Are African countries different or the same in terms of gender and development? How can Africa manage its gender and development issues so that inclusive sustainable development is possible in the short and long run? Evidence which includes the examination of development strategies and trajectories in some African countries will be examined. Both quantitative and qualitative secondary data will be gathered to compare, interrogate and explore the African gender and development contours across African countries. This chapter has academic, scholarly, policy and practice orientations that will lead to relevant recommendations.


  1. Adama, J. S. (2016). Gender equality and women’s rights in modern Ghana.Google Scholar
  2. African Human Development Report. (2016). Accessed 7 June 2016.
  3. Akanle, O., & Adejare, G. (2016). Towards understanding gender and sexuality: Transgender relation relations shifts in contemporary Nigeria. In E. O. Wahab, O. E. Ajiboye, & O. S. Yusuff (Eds.), Essentials of sociology: A brief introduction (pp. 73–85). Festac: Department of Sociology, Lagos State University.Google Scholar
  4. Ali, N. M. (2011). Gender and state building in South Sudan: Special Report. United States Institute of Peace. Accessed 10 Aug 2016.
  5. Anderson, M. (2000). Shifting the centre and reconstructing knowledge. In M. I. Anderson & P. H. Collins Race (Eds.), Class and gender: An anthology (4th ed., pp. 40–48). Belmont: Wadsworth Thomas Learning.Google Scholar
  6. Azuh, D., Fayomi, O., & Ajayi, L. (2015). Socio-cultural factors of gender roles in women’s health utilization in south west Nigeria. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 3, 105–117. Accessed 7 July 2016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Basden, G. T. (1999). Niger ibos. London: Frank Cass.Google Scholar
  8. Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1991). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Garden City: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  9. Burns, S. (1996). The social psychology of gender. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  10. Care. (2016). Gender in brief: South Sudan. Accessed 4 Aug 2016.
  11. CEDAW. (2011). CEDAW 7th country report Kenya. Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Development. Accessed June 2016.
  12. Ezuma, N. N. (2003). Perception of womanhood in Nigeria and the challenge of development. Accessed May 2016.
  13. Ferrante, J. (2011). Sociology: A global perspective (7th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
  14. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). (2011). The state of food and agriculture report 2010–2011. Women in agriculture: Closing the gender gap for development.
  15. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). (2012). Gender inequalities in rural employment in Ghana: Policy and legislation.
  16. Giddens, A. (2004). Sociology. London: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  17. Global Gender Report. (2013). The centre for commonwealth education (CCE Report No. 8).Google Scholar
  18. Hacking, I. (1999). The social construction of what? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Haq, F. (1996). Women, Islam and the state in Pakistan. Muslim World, April(86), 158–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Henslin, J. M. (2010). Sociology: A down to earth approach (10th ed.). New York: Pearson.Google Scholar
  21. Hutson, S. (2009). Gender oppression and discrimination in South Africa. ESSAI 5.Google Scholar
  22. IFAD. (2011a). Rural poverty report.
  23. IFAD. (2011b). Gender inequalities in rural employment in Malawi: An overview.Google Scholar
  24. Ikpeze, N. (2000). Post-Biafran marginalization of the Igbo in Nigeria. In I. Amadiume & A. An-Na’im (Eds.), The politics of memory: Truth, healing and social justice (pp. 90–109). London/New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  25. Jost, J. T., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2002). The estrangement of social constructionism and experimental social psychology: History of the rift and prospects for reconciliation. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6(3), 168–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kasente, D. (2003). Gender and education in Uganda (Background paper for EFA Global Monitoring Report).Google Scholar
  27. Kuanyi, M.A. (2010). Women and culture: Role of women in development of Southern Sudan. Gurlong. Bring South Sudanese together. Accessed 15 July 2016.
  28. Makama, G. A. (2013). Patriarchy and gender inequality in Nigeria: The way forward. European Scientific Journal, 9(17), 115–145.Google Scholar
  29. Meer, F. (2007, March 30). The future for women. The Unesco Courier, 2, 30–32. History Study Center. College of DuPage Library, Glen Ellyn.Google Scholar
  30. Mudiare, P. U. (2013). The perception of gender violence and its implication for spousal violence in Kaduna metropolis, Kaduna State, Nigeria. European Scientific Journal, 9(23). ISSN: 1857 – 7881.Google Scholar
  31. Musau, Z. (2015). Gender equality still within reach. Africa Renewal. Accessed 23 June 2016.
  32. Ndiritu, S. W., & Nyangena, W. (2010). Environmental goods collection and children’s schooling: Evidence from Kenya. Regional Environmental Change, 11(3), 531–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nwomonoh, J. (1998). Education and development in Africa: A contemporary survey. London: International Scholars Publication.Google Scholar
  34. Odeyemi, J. S. (2013). Gender issues among Yorubas. The International Journal of African Catholicism, 4(1, Winter), 1–8.Google Scholar
  35. Ofosu-Baadu, B. (2012). Women in rural Ghana. Ghana statistical services. 4th Global forum on gender statistics. Accessed 3 May 2016.
  36. Olurode, L. (2013, April). State and political participation: Women in Nigeria’s 2011 elections (Discussion paper No. 4). Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.Google Scholar
  37. Ombati, V., & Ombati, M. (2012). Gender inequality in education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Women Education and Entrepreneur, 3–4, 114–136.Google Scholar
  38. Osei-Boateng, C., & Ampratum, E. (2011). The informal sector in Ghana. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Ghana Office.
  39. Pankhurst, D. (2002). Women and politics in Africa: The case of Uganda. Parliamentary Affairs, 55(1), 119–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Quartey, O., & Martin, A. (2008). Gender and diversity report: Ghana. C:AVA. Cassava: Adding value for Africa. Natural Resources Institute.Google Scholar
  41. Sabbagh, S. (1996). Introduction: The debate on Arab women. In S. Sabbagh (Ed.), Arab women: Between defiance and restraints. Brooklyn: Olive Branch Press.Google Scholar
  42. Sabban, W. (1995). The conceptualization of gender, perspectives on gender discourse: Gender and constitution-making in Kenya. Heinrich Boll Foundation, Regional Office, East and Horn of Africa.Google Scholar
  43. UNECA. (2007). A human rights -based approach to education for “All’’. United Nations Children’s Fund. Available at Accessed 20 Jan 2016.
  44. UNECA. (2008). Regional overview: Sub-Saharan Africa, overcoming inequality (EFA. Global Monitoring Report). Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  45. UNESCO. (2006, 2008). Meetings of experts on women in informal sector. United Nation 2009.Google Scholar
  46. UNESCO. (2009). Regional overview: Sub-Saharan Africa; overcoming inequality (EFA Global Monitoring Report). Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  47. UNESCO. (2010a). Africa human development report. 2012. Towards a food secure future.Google Scholar
  48. UNESCO. (2010b). School fees for Africa: Coming to grips with an elusive promise. New York: United Nations Children’s Fund.Google Scholar
  49. UNICEF. (2011). The state of the world’s children: Adolescence an age of opportunity. New York: UNICEF.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. UNWomen. (2015). Rural women, their contribution and challenges to be highlighted at UN commission on the status of women. Accessed 6 Apr 2016.
  51. World Bank. (1988). Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: Policies for adjustment, revitalization and growth. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  52. World Health Organization (WHO). (2012). A World Bank policy research report. New York: Oxford University Press. 2001. Engendering development: though gender equality in rights, Resources, and voice.Google Scholar
  53. World Women Report. (2013). Human rights watch. Accessed 20 June 2016.
  54. World Women Report. (2016). Human rights watch. Accessed 20 June 2016.
  55. World Report. (2013). World report 2013: Nigeria human rights watch. Available at http://www.hrw-org/worldreport/2013/country/chapters/Nigeria. Accessed 30 Nov 2016.
  56. Yusuff, O. S. (2013). Feminism: An African perspective. In A. O. Olutayo & O. Akanle (Eds.), Sociological theory for African students (pp. 209–230). Nigeria: University of Ibadan Press.Google Scholar
  57. Yusuff, O. S. (2014). Gender and career advancement in academia in developing countries: Notes on Nigeria. International Journal of Sociology of Education, 3(3), 269–291.Google Scholar
  58. Yusuff, O. S., & Ajiboye, O. E. (2014). Social change and traditional gender roles in Lagos state. African Journal of Psychological Study of Social Issues, 17(3), 58–68.Google Scholar
  59. Zakaria, Y. (2001). Entrepreneurs at home: Secluded Muslim women and hidden economic activities in Northern Nigeria. Nordic Journal of African Studies, 10(1), 107–123.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social SciencesLagos State UniversityLagosNigeria

Personalised recommendations