“The intellectual success of this study is not that it yields generalizations about the role of education, neatly packaged and ready for uncritical international application to African women or Third World women at large. Rather, this study generates widely applicable questions and identifies issues that are likely to shape the direction of research on women's education and employment for years to come.”
Gracia Clark, author of Onions Are My Husband: Survival and Accumulation by West African Market Women
Even with a university education, the Igbo women of southeastern Nigeria face obstacles that prevent them from reaching their professional and personal potentials. Negotiating Power and Privilege is a study of their life choices and the embedded patriarchy and other obstacles in postcolonial Africa barring them from fulfillment.
Philomina E. Okeke recorded life-history interviews and discussions during the 1990s with educated women of differing ages and professions. Her interviews expose both familiar and surprising aspects of the women's experience—their victories and compromise—within their families, marriages, and workplaces. Okeke explores the many factors that have shaped women's access to sponsorship and promotion in their quest to join men as partners in nation building.
Negotiating Power and Privilege captures the voices of African female professionals and vividly portrays the women's continuous negotiation as wives, mothers, single women, and workers. It shows the inherent limitations of contemporary policies in developing nations that often prescribe secondary and advanced education for women as a panacea for every social ill. It is also an original and important contribution to African studies, gender studies, development studies, education policy, and sociology. This engagingly written book will appeal to a wide audience, ranging from undergraduate students to scholars and professionals.
Philomina E. Okeke-Ihejirika is an assistant professor of women's studies at the University of Alberta. Her current research involves economic barriers to black immigrant women's empowerment in Edmonton, Alberta.
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