Special Issue Concept Note

Proposed Theme: Women in African Economies: Documenting African Women Realities

Brief about the special issue


In February 2022, the School of Women and Gender Studies hosted a Pan African International Conference on Gender Studies in Africa (ICGSA) to celebrate 30 years of gender studies teaching, researching and advocacy in Africa. The main aim of the conference was to take stock of where we are as a continent in relation to the teaching, research and practice of gender studies. Organising the conference was informed by the growth of the discipline from a tool of development practice to a fully-fledged field of academic inquiry and research. The conference attracted international expertise from academia, science granting councils, government, industry as well as civil society to deliberate on the question of Gender Studies in the academy and in national development practice. The conference addressed various themes among which was “Women in African Economies”. This theme attracted a number of presentations that form the proposed special issue around how women are making a difference in the African economy as entrepreneurs, traders, agriculturalists among others. 

The special issue

We are proposing a special issue addressing the theme: “Women in African Economies: Documenting African Women Realities” with the broad focus on the contribution of women to the economy of Africa. The proposed issue will bring together a collection of papers presented at the Gender Studies conference – ICGSA. The purpose of the issue is to explore the how women are making a difference in the economies across the African continent. African women constitute a powerful economic force that is essential for addressing the development challenges experienced in Africa. The comprise the majority of workers in the informal economy, and about a third of women participate in the formal economy. However, their contribution remains invisible in most of the economic analyses.  Drawing on the presentations made at the recent ICGSA, the special issue will provide an opportunity to share knowledge about the role of women in African economies. The publication seeks to explore critical issues relating to women’s participation in the formal and informal economy – focusing on labor migration, sustainable agricultural development (livestock and crop farming), food security, digital finances and use of ICTs to access markets, access to micro-credit and women’s collectives/savings groups, access to decent work, micro and medium-term enterprises, the care economy amplifying the issue of unpaid care work among others. 

The proposed special issue is informed by two motivations: i) to address the representation of African women and to move beyond stereotypes. This specifically points to the need to go beyond women as eternal victims, taking the orientation of African women as social agents in the African economy. Whereas it is an undeniable fact that women have been historically disadvantaged, relative to men, looking at them as eternal victims creates a discourse of lamentations which has tended to dominate the knowledge created about the African woman.  The discourse of lamentations is without doubt informed by the undeniable fact that Africa is a continent in crisis. Widespread poverty, war and displacement, global marginalization all make Africa a continent struggling with the problem of development.  This problem of development then translates into developmentalism especially in gender studies. This special issue is part of the overall effort to build resources for bottom-up agency (women and/ or men) in economic development field, ii) to move beyond generalizations to bring out concrete realities related to women’s contribution to the economy, their struggles and resilience. We acknowledge that whereas women contributions to economic development is in a continuous flux, scholarship in the field has not kept with the pace. In Uganda, especially, scholarship in gender studies has tended to lag behind the changes thereby limiting sensibilities as well as innovations in gender development practice. We aim to have a strong feminist focus and bring out new insights both at the practical and theoretical levels. 

The special issue is intended to add to the much needed locally generated knowledge on gender Studies. The locally generated knowledge has additional value of motivating students to appreciate the core values of the discipline. The special issue will be significant contributions to the teaching and learning resources of the School of Women and Gender Studies and other gender studies units on the African continent.

Revised timeline



November 2022

Send out call for submission of Full papers with Author guidelines

15th December 2022

Deadline for submission of full papers; receive manuscripts

January/February 2023

Review of Manuscripts

30th February 2023

Authors notified about review decisions

30th March 2023

Authors respond to comments and submit final articles for publishing

April/May 2023

Editing, proofing, design and copywriting

End of May 2023

Launch of the special issue

Proposed Guest Editors:     

  1. Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo, Makerere University – grace.bantebya@gmail.com
  2. Henry Manyire, Makerere University – hmanyire@gmail.com
  3. Abena Oduro, University of Ghana – abena.oduro@gmail.com
  4. Leith Dunn, University of Botswana – leithdunn@gmail.com
For more information see the Concept note and editors details