Education as a Tool for Empowerment of the African Woman in Second-class Citizen


  • Aisha Alharbi University of Jeddah



The deprivation of women, preventing them getting equal education opportunities like their male counterparts, is a common practice in many African societies. The current study focuses on Buchi Emecheta's treatment of the functional role of education for the African woman as fictionally presented in her novel Second Class Citizen (1974). The paper demonstrates the protagonist's struggle to attain education, challenging the cultural, racial and patriarchal oppressive forces that deny the African woman's right to have the chance of a proper education. Tracing Adah's's journey of acquiring education, the study illuminates the role of education in empowering the African woman intellectually and economically. Also, education has paramount significance in emancipating the African woman from subjugation and oppression. Equipped with education, Adah has achieved her dream of being a promising writer and a successful mother.   

Key words: Female education, Buchi Emecheta, Second Class Citizen, African woman empowerment


Agho Jude and Osighale Francis. (2008). “‘Wonder Women’: Towards a Feminization of Heroism in the African Fiction: A Study of the Heroines in Second Class Citizen and God’s Bits of Wood”, LWATI: A Journal of Contemporary Research, 5, pp.181-191.

Allan, Tuzyline Jita. (1991). Afterword. In Ama Ata Aidoo. Changes. Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers.

Ballara, Marcela. (1991). Women and Literacy. London: Zed Books.

Boss, Joyce, (1988). "Women and Empowerment: An Interview with Buchi Emecheta". Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, 16(2), pp. 93-100. Print

Bunr, C., David, B. (1985). “Buchi Emecheta and Maryse Conde: Contemporary Writing from Africa and the Caribbean”, World Literature Today, V. 59, pp. 4, 9-13

Chinweizu, Ibekwe. (2005). Anatomy of Female Power: A Masculinist Dissection of Matriarchy. Lagos: Pero Press.

Dolphyne, Florence Abena. (1991). The Emancipation of Women: An African Perspective. Accra: Ghana Universities Press.

Emecheta Buchi. (1988). "Feminism with a small 'f !". Criticism and Ideology (Second African Writers' Conference, Stockholm 1986). Kirsten Holst Petersen. Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, (173-182).

… (1989). Second Class Citizen, London, Hodder and Stoughton.

Haner, Sezgi. (2017). The Double Otherness of Black Woman: Buchi Emecheta's Second-Class Citizen. Journal of International Social Research. 10. 151-156. 10.17719/jisr.20175334108

King, Elizabeth. M. and M. Anne Hill. (1993). Women's Education in Developing Countries: Barriers. Benefits and Policies. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Nfah-Abbenyi, Julia Makuchi (1997). Gender in African Women’s Writing, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Reid, Louis Arnaud. (1986). Ways of Understanding and Education. London: Heinemann Educational Books.

Van Allen, Judith. (1972). “Sitting on a Man: Colonialism and Lost Political Institutions of Igbo Women.” Canadian Journal of African Studies, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 165–181.

Umeh, Marie. (1980). “African Women in Transition in the Novels of Buchi Emecheta.” Présence Africaine, no. 116, pp. 190-201.