Women’s Rights Advocates: African Feminists Don’t Need American Validation

Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Leymah Gbowee, scholars and international social justice advocates discussed women’s rights movements in Africa during a symposium this week at Barnard College in New York.

Planned to coincide with the meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Barnard College hosted African Women’s Rights and Resilience, which covered key issues facing feminists and activists in Africa. Over the course of three panels, issues were raised about respect, understanding and collaboration.

In the first panel, Women’s Rights and Transnational Feminisms, all the panelists spoke about how Western feminists frequently make erroneous assumptions about African feminists.

Filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail Disney said Americans often have the egocentric notion that they should export American feminism to Africa. She said to stop using the word “empowering,” as if African women need Americans to empower them, and give resources whether the work being funded matches American definitions of feminism. <Read more.>

Via Lois Elfman, Diverse Issues in Higher Education.