Women’s rights issues have been prevalent lately, from the #MeToo movement in Hollywood to the proliferation of similar movements across the world. African women have also been holding their own in the fight for women’s liberation against patriarchal oppression, violence, and misogyny. Here are 10 great African feminists you should know:
1. Leymah Gbowee
Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian women’s rights advocate, social worker, and peace activist. She founded the Gbowee Peace Foundation which is based in Monrovia, Liberia. In 2003, she led a movement that united Muslim and Christian women to play a crucial in putting an end to Liberia’s civil war. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 2011 for her nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and their rights.
2. Pumla Dineo Gqola
Pumla Gqola is a South African gender activist, professor, and award-winning author of Rape: A South African Nightmare and A Renegade Called Simphiwe. In her autobiography, Reflecting Rogue: Inside the mind of a feminist, she discusses South African culture, racism and how she raises her sons as feminists.
3. Purity Kagwiria
Purity Kagwiria is a Kenyan journalist and gender activist. She also holds a degree in Gender and Development from the University of Nairobi. She is the executive director at the Akili Dada institute, an organization that nurtures Kenyan girls and women, giving them education and leadership opportunities.
4. Osai Ojigbo
Osai Ojigbo is a lawyer, gender and human rights activist from Nigeria. She was the deputy at Alliances for Africa where she coordinated the Gender Justice in Africa initiative. In 2017, she was appointed as the Nigerian director of Amnesty International.
5. Isabel Casimiro
Isabel Casimiro is a Mozambican feminist teacher and researcher at the Centre of African Studies at the Edwardo Mondlane University in Maputo. She is the founder and former first national coordinator of the Woman and Law in Southern Africa Research and Education Trust.
6. Minna Salami
Minna Salami is a Finnish-Nigerian journalist. She is the editor at the Ms. Afropolitan blog which discusses issues of the African diaspora from a feminist perspective. The blog also offers thoughts on problems that Nigerian women face. Her articles have been featured on Al Jazeera, The Huffington Post, and other publications.
7. Mbali Matandela
Mbali Matandela is a radical feminist and activist from South Africa. She holds a Bacherlors of Social Science Honors degree in Gender and Transformation from the University of Cape Town. Her research was based on the self-representation of women in the #RhodesMustFall movement which was a series of protest across SA that sought to decolonize campuses.
8. Nana Sekyiamah
Nana Sekyiamah is a Ghanaian writer, blogger, and activist. She describes herself as, “a fab African feminist.” Her writings focus on exploring issues around sexualities of African women. She curates the acclaimed Adventures From the Bedrooms of African Women blog.
9. Abena Busia
Dr. Abena Busia is a Ghanaian writer, feminist, academic and poet. She is a professor of Women and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. She is also the co-director and co-editor of Women Writing Africa Project, an anthology published by the Feminist Press at the City University of New York. She was named one of the 50 inspirational African feminists by AWDF in 2011.
10. Rainatow Sow
Rainatow Sow is a Guinean advocate for human rights, a social justice activist and feminist. She is the director of Make Every Woman Count, an organization that promotes rights and empowerment of girls and women. In 2012, she was named one of the inspirational women by a group called Women 4 Africa.