The theme covered in this issue of Agenda was a result of the realisation of the shortage of studies dealing with issues that affect girls in Southern Africa.

While there is now a strong Girlhood Studies areas of research, there is a dearth of studies on girls in developing countries – and Southern Africa in particular – specifically located within the broader context of gender studies and feminist studies and girls’ education more broadly.

Girlhood Studies has not been identified as an area of research and teaching in Southern Africa. A few studies are emerging, including the first book in the area published in South Africa (Methodologies for Mapping a Southern African Girlhood, by Relebohile Moletsane, Claudia Mitchell, Ann Smith and Linda Chisholm). However, there remains a great deal to be done in relation in understanding girlhood here and its location in international literature. Towards this goal, this issue begins a dialogue – we hope – one that should have started a long time ago.

More than anything, we see that the range of concerns and issues, challenges and solutions point to the emergence of a new interdisciplinary area within African feminisms – Southern African Girlhood Studies.