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Jacqueline-Bethel Mougoué, Highlighting African Feminisms through Academia


ABOUT Jacqueline-Bethel Mougoué

Jacqueline-Bethel Mougoué is a feminist historian, assitant professor of African Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin, an author, and a speaker. She has focused most of her research on African feminisms and how gender norms and constructions influence the entire identity of a person. She also sits at the editorial board of the Journal of Women’s History and Feminist Africa. 

Jacqueline-Bethel Mougoué, Highlighting African Feminisms through Academia

“Being a Black woman is being Black twice”. That is a phrase that sums up the reality of being a Black woman in this current world. Jacqueline-Bethel Mougoué has dedicated her work as an African Cultural Studies professor and researcher to understand the gender norms that shape the identities of African people as well as the different feminisms that have emerged in the continent.

Yes, feminisms, in plural. There are differences not only between how gender equality is seen in Africa and the US, but also inside the African continent. Through her research, Jacqueline-Bethel has found that there have been different ways in which African women have fought for gender equality. These range from loud and visible protests, to more subtle yet impactful actions at the highest political levels.

She also talks about finding her identity as a Cameroon-born girl who grew up in the United States. Embracing both sides of her required her to be authentic, and taking a look into the history of women around the world helped her accept herself and be proud of who she is. Even when she goes down the less-traveled path.

Highlights of the episode:

  • 03:24: Jacqueline-Bethel Mougoué talks about cultural norms and values and how they influence what it means to be African in this current world.
  • 05:08: The subtle way in which African women have expressed their political authority. 
  • 09:11: The generational differences in African identity stemmed from changes in the experience of being Black in the US.
  • 17:45: How being a resident instead of a citizen in the United States limited and shaped Jacqueline’s experiences. 
  • 19:23: The impact of African events on Jacqueline’s love for African fabrics, patterns, and her interest in design.
  • 23:33: Black women as a double minority and the obstacles faced by Black women within the Black community itself.
  • 27:15: Gender norms shape the different types of feminisms. 
  • 31:39: The differences in how African women express their political opinions according to their age as well as the roles they have in a country. 
  • 35:10: The gap between researching feminism and gender values and the reality experienced in everyday life.
  • 38:44: How the examples of other women and understanding the role of women in history have shaped Jacqueline’s concepts of self-acceptance and independence.
  • 42:39: The drive to learn about African women’s history and the road that brought Jacqueline to this path.

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