gating ways in which gendered effects of current changes on the continent are act­ed upon by men and women, co-producing future developments. In spite of overwhelming obstacles, such as widespread poverty and soaring HIV/AIDS in­fection rates, examples are given of women’s agency in ways which sometimes re­produce and at other times challenge patriarchal structures.

With this introduction, by discussing theoretical issues of importance for each of these sections, I hope to provide a broader context in which to read and appre­ciate the individual contributions. Almost all of the chapters were first presented at the conference/workshop: “Contexts of Gender in Africa”organized in Upp­sala in February 2002 by the Nordic Africa Institute’s Sexuality, Gender and Society in Africa research programme.