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Title: Breaking barriers : women in transition : an investigation into the new emerging social sub-group of professional Muslim women in Sierra Leone
Author: Taqi, Fatmatta B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 7678
Awarding Body: Anglia Ruskin University
Current Institution: Anglia Ruskin University
Date of Award: 2010
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Sierra Leone is in transition to peace and development, from a previous decade long civil war. Educated Muslim women appear to have a great deal of expression, interest and passion to offer the process. The study investigates the new emerging social sub group of professional Muslim women in Sierra Leone society and explores their views and experiences of identifying and attempting to overcome the burdens of patriarchy, oppression and exploitation perpetrated by religious, social and cultural beliefs. The research and thesis consider in what ways these women and their views ‘fit’ in or challenge society and their perceptions of the potential they have as models to impact on the lives of Sierra Leonean Muslim women nationwide. Using feminist influenced research practices in order to focus on the stories and voices of these women, the study contributes to the growth of knowledge related to the emergent changing roles and perceptions of Muslim women in present day Sierra Leone. This qualitative and interdisciplinary research develops a critical focus and deliberately combines literary sources in an informative context, with feminist research methods of interviews and focus groups on issues of gender equality and empowerment. Through the interviews and focus group discussions conducted, the research portrays the perceptions of the emerging social sub group of professional Muslim women, a cross section of grass-root Muslim women and a selection of male Muslims regarding empowerment, knowledge, culture, independence and oppression. These are also illustrated as the ways the participants embrace the concept of feminism and adapt it by drawing on their Sierra Leonean, Islamic, cultural and social traditions. The research examines the various ideologies that stifle the growth of Sierra Leonean Muslim women from their perspective and it analyses the strategies used by the professional women to tackle the oppressive and repressive customs and stand up against patriarchy. It was discovered through the findings that the research gives an insight into the determination and the conviction of professional Muslim women in advocating for social change and in making their voices heard. As an outcome, it is evidenced that this emerging social sub group of Muslim women appear to be inspiring self-development moves and changes not only among the uneducated grass-root majority, but in the fold of their Muslim men-folk, resulting in a visible impact of self development and self empowerment among Sierra Leonean Muslim women.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sierra Leone ; women in Sierra Leone ; Muslim women's status in Sierra Leone ; professional Muslim women ; Islam and women in Africa ; women & social change ; Mariama Ba's 'So long a letter' ; colonialism ; gender equality ; empowerment ; self development ; female autonomy ; culture & tradition ; education ; feminism ; African feminism ; patriarchy ; feminist influenced research practices