chapter  15
25 Pages

Women and Politics: Resistance and Action in West Africa

ByCatherine Coquery-Vidrovitch

Except in Freetown, where well-to-do women obtained the vote in 1930, almost no kind of political life for women began before the 1950s—not much later than in France, where women could not vote until 1945. In contrast to what happened in Lagos, where working-class women depended on the traditional chiefs, the Egba women of Abeokuta opposed the chiefs as their primary exploiters. In Lome, the same types of political action can be found among Ewe women as are found among Nigerian or Ghanaian market women, but they are less well known. The aim of the Guinean women's organization was to advance the political and social progress of its members by every possible means. At the close of the 1940s, Abidjan women's militant explosion was a significant landmark, because it occurred within a female population much less active than its Yoruba, Akan, or Ewe sisters.