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Regional themes > Gender Last update: 2020-11-27  

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Addressing formal and substantive citizenship: Gender justice in Sub-Saharan Africa

Celestine Nyamu-Musembi

International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

SARPN acknowledges International Development Research Centre (IDRC) as a source of this document:
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This essay presents an overview of key issues in literature on gender justice, citizenship and entitlement in the sub-Saharan Africa region. The essay begins with definitions of the key terms, making a special effort to draw from literature generated within the region. The second section, constituting most of the essay, is a review of the key literature, arranged by problem areas on which the literature on gender justice has focused. Problem areas I address are:

  • formal or explicit exclusion of women from full citizenship status;
  • religion and custom;
  • gender inequalities in property relations;
  • gender inequalities in family relations;
  • women's access to justice;
  • sexual and reproductive health and rights; and
  • gender justice in economic liberalization.
The third section is a brief reflection on links between research and advocacy on women's rights in the region. The fourth reviews key initiatives by funding organizations, while the fifth summarizes a region-wide assessment of the key achievements in and challenges to achieving and institutionalizing gender justice. The final section makes recommendations on thematic priorities for applied research from 2005 to 2008.

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