Addressing Formal and Substantive Citizenship: Gender Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa

Published: 1/Jan/2007
Source: IDRC and Kali for Women

By Celestsine Nyamu-Musembi

Chapter in: Maitrayee Mukhopadhyay and Navsharan Singh (eds.), Gender Justice, Citizenship and Development, Ottawa and New Delhi: IDRC and Kali for Women, 2007

Original available at:

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.

Download file: Nyamu-Musembi_Formal_substantive_citizenship_2007

Themes: Gender
Regions: Pan Africa
Year: 2007