Women in Northern African history

Fadma Ait Mous, Kmar Bendana, Natalya Vince

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


    The 20th century witnessed the emergence of individual women as political actors, women as a category of political and social actors, and women (or “the woman question”) as a theme for political action across North Africa. This history is both intertwined with, and for a long time has been overshadowed by, that of colonialism, nationalism, and postcolonial state-building. Without being linear or homogeneous, the stages and processes of making women visible and extending women’s rights have been similar across Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria: increasing access to education, the emergence of pioneering female “models,” the mobilization of women as a group in the anti-colonial struggle, postcolonial state feminism and then a shift towards women speaking, writing and organizing themselves as women. Specificities of Tunisian, Algerian and Moroccan history have also given rise to distinctive features in the history of women and the writing of the history of women in each country. These include the long history of male feminist thought expressed in Arabic in Tunisia, the mass participation of women in armed struggle in Algeria, and the reformist feminism, based on women reinterpreting religious sources and history, which originated in Morocco.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationOxford Research Encyclopedia of African History
    EditorsThomas Spear
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Electronic)9780190277734
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020


    • education
    • political socialization
    • colonialism
    • nationalism
    • religion
    • war
    • state feminism
    • family
    • autonomous movements


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