This paper examines the attempts of four Sierra Leonean women scientists to restructure their lives and professional careers in the wake of changing political and economic conditions in their nation state. I show how their emotional affinities to their country of origin are still strong and influence their scientific practices and commitments to their country of origin. I argue that as transnational migrants, their experiences are shaped by the intersection of inequalities of gender, race, and nation and changing economic, social, and political processes in their countries of origin and destination. These conditions may constrain but also enable them to compete, challenge, and negotiate new spheres of lived experience. The analysis is framed around discourses on the brain drain, the concept of transnationalism, and feminist research on gender and migration. The study is based on semi-structured interviews, using narratives to illustrate the lived experiences and perspectives of the study participants. Issues addressed include (1) factors leading to migration, (2) experiences of race, gender, and nationality, (3) ways of practicing science, (4) navigation of emotional commitments to country of origin.
Although it has been argued that gender disparities permeate educational systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a paucity of systematic analyses to support these arguments. This study examines women's participation in the educational process in Sub-Saharan Africa, and argues that women are disadvantaged in this vital area of human resource development. It is argued further that women's disenfranchisement in education may not be the direct result of economic difficulties, as often suggested. Rather, this disenfranchisement is more likely to result from a complex interaction between economic factors, cultural and societal norms, and stereotypes of gender roles. Conjointly, these factors have direct and indirect influences on government initiatives in education and training, career advice, and familial support systems. Women's participation in education is compared in middle and low income Sub-Saharan African countries, and the comparison is used to support the case that economic factors, by themselves, are not sufficient for understanding women's participation in the region's educational systems.
Although much has been written on many different aspects of post-conflict reconstruction, democracy building, and the role of the international community in Sierra Leone, there is no definitive publication that focuses on exploring the ways in which various interventions targeted at women in Sierra Leone have resulted in socio-economic and political change, following the Sierra Leone civil war. This special issue explores the multi-faceted subject of women’s empowerment in post-war Sierra Leone. Employing a variety of theoretical frameworks, the papers examine a broad range of themes addressing women’s socio-economic and political development, ranging from health to political participation, from paramount chiefs and parliamentarians to traditional birth attendants and refugees. An underlying argument is that post-war contexts provide the space to advance policies and practices that contribute to women’s empowerment. To this end, the papers examine the varied ways in which women have individually and collectively responded to, shaped, negotiated, and been affected by national and international initiatives and processes.
Research on African women and gender studies has grown substantially to a position where African-centered gender theories and praxis contribute to theorizing on global feminist scholarship. Africanist scholars in this field have explored new areas such as transnational and multiracial feminisms, both of which address the complex and interlocking conditions that impact women's lives and produce oppression, opportunity and privilege. In addition, emergent African-centered research on women and gender explores those critical areas of research frequently addressed in the global North which have historically been ignored or marginalized in the African context such as family, work, social and political movements, sexuality, health, technology, migration, and popular culture. This article examines these developments in African gender studies scholarship and highlights the contributions that new research on understudied linguistic populations, masculinity, migration, political development and social movements and the virtual world are making to global feminist discourse.