This critical collection engages many of the health problems of greatest concern to most African women today: death during pregnancy and the need for assistance in childbirth; the spread of the AIDS epidemic; mental illness and domestic violence, which appears to be increasing along with civil unrest and war; the persistence of harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation; and the impact of structural adjustment programs on health and access to health care. The authors, most of whom are African women speaking of the difficulties in their own countries, approach these issues in an economic, social, and political context. They weave concerns with gender relations between men and women and the status of women in African societies into the fabric of disease trends and public health responses. Many of the authors are currently working in women's research and service programs, some are active in advocacy, and others propose solutions to the dilemmas they uncover.
The contributions capture the great geographical, political, and economic diversity in Africa. They come from Eritrea and South Africa, nations with new constitutions that are the envy of women the world over; from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria, countries with rich heritages of women's activism; from Kenya and Egypt where women are struggling to make their voices heard; and from Sudan, long mired in civil war and under a government heavily influenced by religious and military leaders who try to silence women. These chapters reflect the remarkable advances in African scientific research and political analysis, and the authors raise new standards for the study of African women's health.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meredeth Turshen teaches courses in women's health and human rights at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University. She has written three books, The Political Ecology of Disease in Tanzania (1984), The Politics of Public Health (1989), and Privatizing Health Services in Africa (1999), all published by Rutgers University Press, and edited three others, Women and Health in Africa (Africa World Press, 1991), Women's Lives and Public Policy: The International Experience (Greenwood, 1998), and What Women Do in Wartime: Gender and Conflict in Africa (Zed Books, 1998). She serves as Political Co-Chair of the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars and as contributing editor of the Review of African Political Economy.
Women's Studies, Health/AFRICA