Sarah B. Solomon, Gender and Women’s Studies
"No Development Without Girls: Gender, Development and Youth Associations in Mali"
Faculty Mentor: Dr, Gloria Chuku
Expected Graduation Date: May 2010
Feminist and development scholars have not adequately addressed the implications of youth activism in West Africa. Changing gender dynamics among Malian youth are generated and navigated in the context of youth associations. Girls in Mali are beginning to join and act as leaders in Malian youth associations. This phenomenon has countless implications for gender dynamics in Mali, and it is contributing to increased numbers of women in the public sphere. The study is an attempt to represent the experiences of girls who participate in Malian youth associations, and to extrapolate the significance of these experiences. Thirty-one interviews were conducted with members of ten youth associations. Interviewees were mostly young Malian women who were currently participating in youth associations or had participated in the past. Youth associations in Mali are shaping future leaders, mobilizing youth to be active in public life and raising awareness about vital issues facing the country. Focusing attention on Malian youth associations reveals how gender and youth activism are both relevant within development discourse.