This book examines women's movements and women's collective action in Africa. Steady begins her examination in pre-colonial times, moving through the colonial period to the present. She looks at the various arenas which collective action has and can influence, comparing the impact on economic growth, education, democratizations, family formation, and women's rights. Steady uses Sierra Leone as the focus of her inquiry, in order for a detailed story to illustrate larger themes, but in every area makes comparisons to different parts of Africa; the case study here guides a larger inquiry. Written as a text, the book carefully explains the theoretical ideas (e.g., all key terms are defined, and then there is a discussion of how they relate to African issues specifically) and the historical knowledge (e.g., all historical events are described, there is no assumption of knowledge of African history) necessary to understand the meaning of current women's groups. What results is a clear and comprehensive treatment of an issue which is increasingly central to understanding changes taking place on the African continent today.

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