Shrinking Civic Space for Women and Girls in Africa



Edited by Awino Okech & Marianne Mesfin Asfaw

CODESRIA, Dakar, 2021, ISBN: 978-2-38234-064-6

This work examines the closure of civic space for women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in Africa. Closing civic space is used to describe the growing phenomenon of governments, political elite and non-state actors using a range of legal and extra-judicial tactics to control dissent. These actions include but are not limited to arbitrary arrests, indefinite pre-trial detention, enforced disappearances and expanding the ability of the police to arrest people on terrorism charges. Though one can argue that in the twelve years since these publications the work of women human rights activists has received more recognition, the evolving political environment demands a closer look at the gendered impact of these shifts on women. The shrinking space for civil society differs from context to context, country to country and region to region. The size of civil society, mandates and missions of civil society, their capacity and capabilities, and the general environment under which they operate inform some of the differences in how the space shrinks.

Awino Okech, SOAS, University of London.

Marianne Mesfin Asfaw, Association for Women’s Rights (AWID)


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December 17, 2021