Neoliberal feminism in Africa

Spring 2019

This article explores neoliberal feminism in relation to Africa, with a particular focus on Nigeria. It argues that neoliberal feminism is more likely to be embraced in Nigeria than some of the other kinds of feminism that are circulating there. This is because its high levels of poverty and unemployment have fostered an individualised entrepreneurial mindset that is in some ways more in line with this kind of feminism. The need for income means that all women who can find paid work take it on - often in the informal economy. Thus equality at work and in business has been easier to achieve than equality in the home. It could be argued that a Nigerian version of the neoliberal feminist goal of individual empowerment and a good work-life balance has emerged, though it remains dependent on accepting inequality within the family. This implies the need to be aware that ideas have very different effects in different contexts. The article also reflects on the work of African Women in Media, which seeks to mobilise women in media industries, and to improve the representation and visibility of women in African media.