Women in Universities in Africa

  • Nana Yaw Boampong SapongEmail author
  • Priscilla Owusu Amoako
Living reference work entry


Universities in Africa occupy the pivotal role of serving as conduits for the continent’s intellectual, political, and economic aspirations. More importantly, they serve as vessels in which knowledge is conceived, nurtured, and disseminated. Ironically, the university has traditionally been a male-dominated space, casting a shadow over the fact that women have always been instrumental in the process of knowledge production in African societies. In the citadel of free-thinking, self-awareness, and knowledge production, the contribution of women was often reduced to tokenism or blatant denial. Due to their colonial context, most African universities epitomized structure, bureaucracy, and patriarchy. Women at the University of Ghana, University of Ibadan, and Makerere University, among others, became painfully aware of their perceived handicap as the “other.” Using snippets from the life histories of female African intellectuals, academics, and educationists, as well as studies done on African women in higher education institutions in Africa, this chapter seeks to underscore female agency in the study of African universities. At the turn of the twenty-first century, a number of African universities dramatically charted a different course in terms of gender relations, but much needs to be done to stimulate change in institutional cultures in Africa’s higher education systems.


Africa Gender Higher education Universities Women 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nana Yaw Boampong Sapong
    • 1
    Email author
  • Priscilla Owusu Amoako
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of GhanaLegon, AccraGhana

Section editors and affiliations

  • Olajumoke Yacob-Haliso
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political Science and Public AdministrationBabcock UniversityIlishan RemoNigeria

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