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AFI Feminist Dialogue Series with Wanjiru Kareithi

AFI Feminist Dialogue Series with Wanjiru Kareithi

“Women in Africa- Agency exemplified through customary law and practice”

In this dialogue, Kareithi discusses pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial conceptualizations and representations of women in African society and demystifies some of their customary martial practices. Many cultures and tribes in African communities were matriarchies. Women were often powerful figureheads in the communities as political leaders, clan elders, and in certain cases, heads of homesteads. In certain African marriages, women officially adopted the roles of husbands, formally known as ‘female husbands’ by marrying other women and ‘bearing’ children with them, who were officially considered the lineage of the female husband. This customary practice of woman-to-woman marriage exemplified the autonomy and agency that women often had in African communities where they were able to usurp traditionally ‘masculine’ roles and thrive in their communities. This practice still occurs in modern-day African societies and is often recognized as a valid and legal form of marriage.

Wanjiru Kareithi is a postdoctoral scholar in the Office of the Associate Dean of Access and Equity working on equity and inclusive leadership within the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State. She is a feminist, human rights advocate and scholar from Nairobi, Kenya. In her advocacy work, she has spearheaded initiatives on advancements in equality and non-discrimination, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Virtual Event
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