This book investigates gender equality and women’s empowerment in Sierra Leone, focusing in particular on women’s interactions with the state and its development partners. In particular, it highlights women’s increasing agency in acquiring knowledge, diffusing power, engaging in grassroots politics, and compelling the government to adopt more gender-responsive policies.

Drawing on extensive fieldwork and original multidisciplinary research methods (including econometric and statistical models), the book first sets out the history and impact of inequality in Sierra Leone. It then goes on to shed light on the constructive and collaborative engagement of women and the state on a variety of local and external strategies for promoting gender equality. Drawing throughout on insights from across gender studies, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science, the book highlights how women are succeeding in transforming marginality into agency in order to build a platform for influencing change. By qualifying and quantifying the challenges of gender inequality in Sierra Leone, and the progress that is being made, this book provides important insights that will be relevant to other fragile, post-conflict states within Africa.

The book will be of interest to students and researchers studying women and gender studies, African studies, economics, international development, sociology, and political science and international relations. The book will also deepen policymakers’ and practitioners’ understanding of women’s diverse trajectories and experiences, and how the typology of government affects the patterns of inequality and equality.

Part 1: Theories, Concepts and Issues  1. Theorizing Gender-responsive Governance, Women’s Agency and Empowerment, and the Logic of (In)quality and Transitions to Equality  Part 2: The Logic of Inequality in The Bounded Spaces of Sexuality, Violence, and Discrimination  2. The Histories and Boundaries of State-Capture: Sexuality, Power, and Belonging  3. Locating Inequality in the Formal and Informal Economic Sector  4. How Society created an Education Sector that Propagated Inequality  5. Politics, Electoral Violence and Gender Inequality  6. Then Came the Era of A Civil War and its Aftermath: Women’s Lives in War and Peace  Part 3: The Logic and Transitions to Gender-responsive Governance, Equality and Empowerment  7. Feminizing the Quasi-Institutional Interventions to end Sexual Violence  8. Women, The State and The Rise of a Gender-Responsive Knowledge-Economy 9. ‘Let’s Quantify the Contributions of Women:’ Costing of Equality via Gender-Responsive Budgeting  10. Creating the ‘Local State’ and Expanding the Decentralised Space for Women’s Grassroots Political Participation