Bilakani TONYEME


The issue of women's rights has been at the heart of social debates in recent decades in Africa. Whether it is among activists, politicians, or researchers, it is a question of knowing why on the continent, respect for the dignity of women is stalling while in the West, women's rights have experienced a dazzling advance from the second half of the twentieth century. One of the causes towards which the explanations converge is socio-cultural: it is commonly agreed that the traditions of African societies constitute a brake on the emergence of women's rights. This position is often supported by social science research which shows that these societies make little room for women's rights and generally make little room for women in their structures and operations. Whether it was among the first anthropologists of African societies like Marcel Griaule (1966) or among the first jurists, this image emerges that traditional African societies did not have great regard for women.

But this explanation of the lack of entrenchment of women's rights by African traditions is to be questioned nowadays in the light of real knowledge of these traditions. The aim of this contribution is to demystify the early research in the social sciences, which is to a large extent characterized less by scientific objectivity than by a psychological projection of the hierarchy of cultures. This is to show that unlike the pseudo-knowledge inherited from anthropologists and colonization jurists, African cultures integrate within them the protection of women from which African modernity can draw inspiration for effective protection of women in Africa nowadays


Women's rights, traditional African societies, prejudices, social science research, deconstruction.

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