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If there is any word that has caused a lot of stir over the last couple of years is the word feminism. The word has become so confusing and mucked with a lot of mud. As I researched for this piece I found out that feminism is very diverse and it is very deep to understand.

So what is feminism?

We have to start with the basics in order to understand this topic well. Feminism can be described as ideologies and movements which are aimed at equal rights for women. However it can also be defined in many other ways. According to Kathy Kaprino a Forbes writer describes feminism as a round of many things. Some that stood out are advocacy for women rights and a belief that women and men should have the same equal rights.

What are the stages of feminism?

Feminism has however taken many dimensions and has grown in the African and western contexts. In the western context feminism is taken into 4 waves. The first wave occurred in the 19th and 20th century. Its main issues included articulating for some rights for women including the right to vote and public participation. The second wave of feminism occurred between the 60’s and 80’s. It tried to address cultural inequalities, gender norms and roles of women. The third wave of feminism was a continuation of the second wave and addressed almost the same issues as the second waves of feminism did.

In the African context, feminism is a bit different. In an article done by Mina Salami she discusses the different stages of African feminism. Here is how she describes them:

  1. Pre colonial African feminism. She describes this era as a place where women advocated for their rights without having to say they were feminists. She describes them as people who were the verb “feminists” and “feminism”. They led revolutions and stood for the rights of women she names Albertina Sisulu who is Walter Sisulu’s wife.
  2. Post colonial feminism . She groups feminism into three stages when it comes to this stage.
  3. Radical African feminism. She likens this form of feminism as close to the second wave of feminism. These feminists advocated for single parent families and started doing work that was “commonly reserved” for men.
  4. Afro centric African Feminism. This form of feminism challenged unafricanness and westernization of our African ideologies. It is highly homophobic and tries to make feminism more African in nature.
  • Grassroots African feminism. This type of feminism emerged in the 80s and 90’s. It came into the foreground after the UN decade for women. It aimed at focusing on issues that are affecting women such as poverty reduction, anti FGM and violence prevention.
  1. Feminism in 2000’s exists in different forms. However the most outstanding includes: Liberal African Feminism. This form of feminism deals with domestic gender roles, gender gaps and sexual rights of Africans. However the other form is Millenial or fourth wave African feminism which uses a lot of pushback, fierce and the student protesting form of feminism. they are out to make bold statements in bold ways.

Does feminism matter?

Feminism is commonly misunderstood and it is important to get to facts right. That is why we will continue points related to feminism and why we think it is important for you to think about it. That is why we will try and explain this in a series of articles (though not following each other).


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