Female "Autonomy" in Two African Capital Cities: The Cases of Dakar and Lome

Agnes Adjamagbo, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)
Philippe Antoine, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)

The present research deals with the specific situation of unmarried women (i.e. single, divorced or widowed) who are tenant or home-owner in two African cities, Dakar in Senegal and Lomé in Togo. These women are defined as “autonomous”, given that they are independent at marital and residential levels. They live outside of the marriage bond, pay a rent, are home-owner or live with their employer. What is the frequency and duration of this situation in the two capital cities? What is the occupational profile of these women? The present article will address those issues. Our purpose is to describe an uncommon and relatively untypical status among women, as an expression of important structural changes under way in African families. The study is based on two biographical surveys carried out in Lomé (2000) and in Dakar (2001) among a sample respectively of 2,536 and 1,290 individuals.

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Presented in Session 74: Gender Issues: Cross-National Comparisons