Gender Struggle in Guinea-Bissau: Women’s Participation On and Off the Liberation Record
Women’s participation in the liberation struggle led by PAIGC in Guinea-Bissau emerged as a trope of female people performing an array of war-like activities and anti-colonial militancy, assuming equal and complementary roles regarding their male comrades. In this chapter, we revisit the inscription of women’s emancipation in this anti-colonial project to analyse how it promoted a transformation of female destinies through such active roles while confronting male supremacy within the party and their communities. The juxtaposition of official records and dominant nationalist narratives with personal recollections allows us to deepen the discussion around gendered emancipatory devices activated in the anti-colonial wars and the resulting state-building efforts, by disassembling the concept of resistance into its multiple modalities, and by keeping with its contradictions and differential effects.
Our work benefitted from funding by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, both through our PhD scholarships (SFRH/BD/94769/2013 and PD/BD/52253/2013), as well as through our participation in the team involved in the project Amilcar Cabral, from political history to the politics of memory (PTDC/EPH-HIS/6964/5214). We would also like to express our gratitude to Lars Rudebeck, Signe Arnfred, Isabel Casimiro and Catarina Martins for their thoughtful comments on the paper we presented in Nordic Africa Days 2016, in Uppsala. Miguel Cardoso proofread the text. A special thanks to him and to Rui Lopes, Nuno Domingos and Ricardo Roque for their careful reading of earlier versions of this text and for their generous commentaries and suggestions. Ana Maria Soares, Carmen Pereira and Stephanie Urdang were kind enough to share their personal experiences while answering our queries. To them, and especially to the women and men who hosted us during our fieldwork in southern Guinea-Bissau, sharing their struggling life stories in many different ways, we owe our deepest respect.