Discovering my own African feminism: embarking on a journey to explore Kenyan women's oppression

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Gatwiri, GJ & McLaren, HJ 2016, 'Discovering my own African feminism: embarking on a journey to explore Kenyan women's oppression', Journal of International Women's Studies, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 202-211.

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All Black women have experienced living in a society that devalues them. The scholarship of bell hooks submits that the control of Black women ideologically, economically, socially and politically functions perfectly to form a highly discriminative but effective system that is designed to keep them in a submissive and subordinate place. As a Ph.D. student, in a reflective journey with my research supervisor, I engage in a struggle to define my own feminist perspective in as I prepare to explore the oppression, disadvantage and discrimination experienced by Kenyan women living with vaginal fistulas. I examine how poor and socially disadvantaged Kenyan women are forced to lead lives or engage in practices that predispose them to poor sexual and reproductive health. Such practices include child rape, child marriage and female genital mutilation. While academic theorizing considers socio-cultural practices that contribute to women's oppression in Kenya, I seek to locate my position as a Black African feminist to enable my contribution to these debates.

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