Gender Transition in Africa

Researcher: Prince Osei-Wusu Adjei 
Project started in 2018

In the last two to three decades, gender roles have been shifting globally. In a study that focused on Eastern Europe and Central Asia and published as World Bank working paper, Paci Pierella (2002) confirmed that gender is in a troubled transition.  This social change has been driven by major events including human rights treaties and conferences of the 1990s, declaration of the MDGs and SDGs, National and International Women Empowerment interventions, and globalization which are shaping the universal gender equality agenda. The assumption has been that gender stereotyping or division of labour characterising most societies particularly in Africa has over the years produced gender inequality, discrimination against women, social exclusion and high incidence of poverty and vulnerability amongst women and sometimes the youth and children. Therefore, social change that erases gender division of labour/ stereotyping would produce a more gender equal and inclusive development with improved well-being and sustainable livelihoods for all. This assumption is often not supported with empirical and evidence-based justifications, which therefore raises critical questions for research, considering that expected outcomes of such a social change across different scales and spatial contexts, could be mixed with both positive and negative development ramifications. Particularly within the African context with cherished customs and traditions and entrenched cultural practices in most traditional societies, such social change and transition from gender stereotyping/division of labour (inequality) to equality could have varied development implications which must be studied, understood and effectively managed for gender equality initiatives to make desirable and maximum impacts.

Hence, the Gender Transition in Africa (GenT-Africa) Research project is proposed to systematically study and gather empirical and field-based evidence and results on the transition processes and its development ramifications that will help answer crucial research and policy questions emerging from gender and development debates and discussions with focus on the African Context.

The proposed study is very necessary because it would be designed to produce field-based results (i.e. knowledge and information production) at different scales and spatial context appropriate to answer and solve emerging research questions from gender equality and well-being discussions which will advance gender and development scholarship. It will also produce research-based outputs that can inform and support the implementation of policies and programmes designed to achieve gender equality, women empowerment and sustainable development agenda in Africa and beyond.

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