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Patricia McFadden


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Patricia revels in introducing herself as a Radical African Feminist who does not compromise on women’s inalienable rights- anywhere women live and struggle for dignity and integrity. Born in Swaziland over a half century ago Patricia lives and works in Zimbabwe and is based at the Southern African Political Economy Trust. Her work in the women’s movement is national and regional in addition to global work in the women’s movement on issues of Violation and Sexuality.

Patricia is a well respected feminist activist and scholar, she is presently gathering her many articles written over the past 3 decades on a number of issues impacting women’s lives and hope to publish them as a collected volume with South End Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts later in 2005. Her most recent work/writing /activism is focused on issues of citizenship and women’s engagements with the state on issues of entitlement and security.


Born in Swaziland in 1952, Patricia McFadden received her first degree from the University of Botswana and Swaziland in politics and administration, with economics and sociology as minors; she received a master’s degree in Sociology from Dar es Salaam University, Tanzania; and a doctorate from Warwick University in the United Kingdom (1987). McFadden has taught in many African countries. She has also taught in the United States at Cornell, Spelman, Syracuse, and Smith University, and in Europe. She served as international dean in the International Women’s University (IFU) from 1998 – 2000 in Hannover.

McFadden has worked in the African and global women’s movements for the past 30 years, writing, conceptualizing, teaching, training, advocating and publishing as editor of the Southern African Feminist Review from 1995 – 2000, and as a program officer in the Southern African Regional Institute for Policy Studies ( SARIPS) in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 1993 – 2005. She also taught in the Masters in Social Policy (MPS) program offered by SARIPS for the past seven years, and was an adjunct professor on the Syracuse Study Abroad program from 1994 – 2000.

McFadden’s main areas of intellectual inquiry are: sexuality, reproductive and sexual health and rights (especially for young women), and identity, violation and citizenship for African women. She has presented numerous papers at universities, conferences and seminars internationally in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Namibia, South Africa, Ghana, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Brazil, China, Germany Ethiopia, the United Kingdom and others.

More recently she has been working as a ‘feminist consultant,’ supporting women in creating institutionally sustainable feminist spaces within Southern Africa. The most recent initiative is the establishment of a women’s leadership center in Windhoek, Namibia. McFadden says that her priority is to provide conceptual, intellectual and programmatic support to African feminists in envisioning and supporting programs that draw on the radical political energies of African women as writers and as citizens across the continent.

McFadden is currently the Endowed Cosby Chair in the Social Sciences in the Women’s Research and Resource Center, at Spelman College, Atlanta (2005 – 07) and is teaching a course on “African Feminisms in a Globalizing World.”



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