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Transforming Capitalism and Patriarchy: Gender and Development in Africa

April A. Gordon
Transforming Capitalism and Patriarchy: Gender and Development in Africa
ISBN: 978-1-55587-402-5
ISBN: 978-1-55587-629-6
ISBN: 978-1-62637-534-5
1996/219 pages/LC: 95-41235
Women and Change in the Developing World

"Makes a valuable contribution to the ongoing discourse of addressing women's needs in the development process for their own, and society's, ends."—International Affairs


Using insights from feminist theory and political economy, Gordon examines the implications for women of current economic and political reform efforts in Africa.

Much of the work on women in Africa argues that patriarchy and capitalism have collaborated in the exploitation and control of women to support dependent capitalist development; therefore, both are antithetical to the interests of women. Dependent capitalist development, however, has been a failure. And now, Gordon contends, the interests of patriarchy—in its current form in Africa—and capitalism no longer coincide. Further capitalist expansion requires improving the status of women, who now have a window of opportunity to and alter patriarchal structures.

Nevertheless, the mutuality of capitalist and feminist interests is only partial. Gordon points out that, if women are to avoid merely substituting one form of patriarchy for another (i.e., that typical of Western capitalist societies), they must develop new strategies and alliances to shape a future beyond dependent capitalist and patriarchal inequalities.


April A. Gordon is professor emeritus of sociology and director of the Women's Studies Program at Winthrop University. She is coeditor of Understanding Contemporary Africa.


  • Feminist Theory and the Patriarchy-Capitalist Nexus in Africa.
  • Underdeveloped Capitalism and the Status of African Women.
  • Women's Responses to Capitalist Development and Patriarchy.
  • The State, Capitalism, and Patriarchy.
  • Development and Women.
  • Capitalism, Class Formation, and the Future of Patriarchy.