This thesis explores a selection of African based activist, literary and scholarly women’s writings to consider whether one can identify African feminism contributions to the development of international human rights.
The purpose of the research is to engage in the political process of naming and reclaiming African women as historical actors in the development of international human rights, and to highlight the contributions of African women in shaping the development of international human rights. I will argue that African feminism through its principles have enriched he field of international human rights through theory and practice. In theory, it argues that women’s oppression and subordination are based not solely on sex or gender, but on other social dynamics which interconnects in affecting women’s position. In this thesis, I consider the ways in which a range of African feminist writings critiques of certain key concepts such as: patriarchy, public/private divide, individual and collective rights, marriage and motherhood. It examines African women interpretation of individual rights in the context of collective rights, showing that the ‘we’ principle does not ignore individual rights in the society. Further, it argues that African feminist’s holistic approach to the environment that has promoted the notion that environmental rights are human rights, and also that African women’s engagement with peace process through concepts reconciliation have affirmed women’s contribution as peace agents.
Accordingly, I suggest that African feminism may be understood as a theoretical perspective which encompasses the intellectual basis and philosophical rationale that underlies the writings and activism of African women. Therefore, this thesis presents an interpretative framework in which African women offer an alternative and holistic perspective to issues concerning women nationally, regionally, and internationally.