Contributors are invited to submit manuscripts on the above topic from either an activist or research perspective. Abstracts and contributions must be written in English and in a style that is accessible to a wide audience. Please submit abstracts to or 

Deadline: November 16, 2020


Agenda has been at the forefront of feminist publishing in South Africa for the past 30 years and raises debate around women’s rights and gender issues. The journal is designed to promote critical thinking and debate and aims to strengthen the capacity of both men and women to challenge gender discrimination and injustice. The Agenda journal is an IBSS/SAPSE accredited and peer-reviewed journal.

GUEST EDITORS: Dr Rachelle Chadwick & Dr Jabulile Mavuso

Conceptual Rationale:

Gender-based violence is a well-recognized and extensively theorized social problem in Southern Africa. There is also a rich corpus of feminist writing and research on reproductive health and sexual/reproductive rights across a range of African and transnational contexts. However, less feminist work has focused explicitly on reproductive coercions and human rights abuses as forms of violence. In parts of the Global South (particularly Latin and Central America), strong feminist activist movements have mobilized in efforts to name, problematize, and struggle against reproductive and obstetric violence (e.g. Dixon, 2015). For example, ‘obstetric violence’, a form of violence experienced by birthers in maternal health services, has been redefined by feminist activists not just as a health systems problem but as a systemic form of gender violence (Shabot, 2016). The intersectional differences that shape reproductive politics and materializations of reproductive violence and coercion have been well-recognized by Southern feminists (see Smith-Oka, 2013; Dixon, 2015).

While reproductive and obstetric violence have been recognized as pervasive problems in several African contexts, there has been little attempt to engage, discuss, and theorize such modes of violence from Afrofeminist perspectives. We use the term ‘Afrofeminism’ rather than ‘African feminism’ to disrupt any easy idea of coherence or singularity (Tamale, 2020). Furthermore, we define ‘Afrofeminism’ as modes of feminist analysis and activism that trace and foreground the racialized, colonial, and gendered circuits of power that shape the lives of African peoples of marginalized genders (both in African contexts and transnationally). This call is thus not limited to work that explores reproductive violence in African settings only, but seeks to broaden the lens by exploring transnational circuits of power that operate across Southern, African, and postcolonial contexts. In this special issue, we thus aim to provide a space for dialogue and conversation across geopolitical differences. The time is ripe to consider, debate, and define reproductive violence and injustice from Afrofeminist, Southern, and decolonial standpoints and to enable a set of conversations on how to theorize and challenge reproductive violence and forms of oppression from majority-world perspectives. This call for abstracts is thus an invitation to think and write about the particular forms and formations of reproductive violence, oppression, and injustice materializing in a range of contexts, including: African, Southern, and postcolonial settings.

We also seek to broaden the lens by expanding the definition of what counts as ‘reproductive violence’. In much of the scholarship around reproductive and obstetric violence, normative and exclusionary assumptions about which bodies are reproductive and therefore which experiences count as violence still operate. Black, indigenous women, and women of color scholars have attended to the ways that patriarchy, racism and (neo-) colonial white-supremacy interact to produce and mask reproductive violence against Black, indigenous women, and women of color. However, less scholarly attention has been paid to the ways that various systems of power continue to normatively construct people who are queer (especially intersex, trans and non-binary), ill, poor, disabled, young, older, HIV+, fat, or migrants as non-reproductive bodies, devalue their reproductive capacities, and/or simultaneously hyper-invisibilize and erase their experiences of reproductive violence. As such, this call is an invitation to make visible a wider range of reproductive violations than is largely documented in scholarship on this issue. By ‘reproductive violence’, then, we refer broadly to practices, representations, policy, state, and institutional efforts to coerce, control, punish, diminish, devalue or oppress the reproductive capacities/bodies of marginalized peoples. As such, we are interested in thinking about how we might make sense of, theorize, and visibilize such forms of reproductive coercion, violence, and oppression as Afrofeminist, decolonial, and Southern scholars, writers, and activists.

We invite a range of perspectives on reproductive and obstetric violence, ranging from pieces that engage the theoretical, to personal reflections and stories, and more empirical or evidence-based articles that explore the ways in which various forms of reproductive and obstetric violence (including but not limited to: coerced or forced sterilization and denied sterilization, unsafe abortion and denied abortion/forced birth, abuses and power inequities pertaining to surrogacy work and assisted reproductive technologies, coerced contraception and unsafe, limited or inaccessible contraceptive care, biome dicalization, antenatal and childbirth abuse, miscarriage and stillbirth related abuses, breastfeeding injustices, stigma against (HIV+) gestators, unnecessary hysterectomies and birth interventions, histories and modes of population control) materialize across diverse settings. As such, we open an invitation for articles, essays and reflection pieces that engage questions along (but by no means limited to) the following lines:

  • What does it do (or undo) to adopt the language of violence in thinking about reproductive and obstetric health care issues? What does this frame enable or limit?
  • How can we theorize reproductive and obstetric violence from Afrofeminist, Southern, and postcolonial perspectives?
  • How does reproductive and obstetric violence materialize across a range of different African and transnational settings?
  • What kinds of reproductive and obstetric violence have materialized during Covid-19 lockdown restrictions across diverse contexts?
  • How can we define and conceptualize reproductive and obstetric violence from decolonial and Afrofeminist positionalities?
  • What kinds of Afrofeminist and decolonial feminist activisms are needed to counter, resist and challenge reproductive injustice in African contexts and beyond?
  • How do the frameworks of intersectionality, reproductive justice, and decoloniality enable or disable understandings of reproductive violence, injustice and oppression in various contexts?
  • How do persons who are variously marginalized, narrate experiences of reproductive and obstetric violence (broadly defined)?
  • How is reproductive violence produced through normative systems of power (including but not limited to, racism, classism, sexism, cisheteronormativity, ageism, ableism, healthism, fat oppression, religion, afrophobia/xenophobia)?
  • How does reproductive violence intersect with normative systems of power and respectability politics?
  • What are the intersections between reproductive and obstetric violence and the long afterlives of racialized historical oppressions (i.e. apartheid, colonialism, racist segregation)?
  • How do concepts such as obstetric violence, obstetric racism and reproductive justice travel to, resonate, and diffract in a range of African, Southern, and postcolonial contexts?

Guest Editors:

Dr. Rachelle Chadwick is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Pretoria. She has published widely on reproductive politics, obstetric violence, birth narratives and critical feminist methodologies. Her book, ‘Bodies that Birth: Vitalizing Birth Politics’ was published by Routledge in 2018.

Dr. Jabulile Mary-Jane Jace Mavuso is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Sociology department, University of Pretoria. Their interests lie in the intersection of gender, sexualities and reproduction and sexual and reproductive justice. Their most recent research has focused on abortion narratives. They have published in Culture, Health& Sexuality, Nursing Inquiry, and Psychology in Society

Submission Guidelines for Agenda Journal

The following guidelines are intended to assist authors in preparing their contributions.


Agenda invites contributions from feminist and gender scholars, activists, researchers, policy makers, professionals, educators, community workers, students and members of womxn’s organizations and organizations interested in and concerned with gender issues.

Submissions should contribute to developing new thinking and fresh debate on women’s rights and gender equality in Africa and other developing countries.

Writers need to:

  • Write in an accessible and understandable style;
  • Inform, educate or raise debate;
  • Try to pin down reasons for contradictions and point out differences of opinion;
  • Provide an analysis and an argument;
  • Be logical;
  • Be sensitive to but not uncritical of how gender, class and race affect the reporting of an event;
  • Ensure the introduction encapsulates the contents of the piece and that it attracts the reader’s attention by either making a controversial statement, providing a thought-provoking or new insight into the subject;
  •   Utilize a gender or feminist lens.

We publish articles in various formats, which range from 6,000 words for more theorized articles, which form the main reference pieces in an issue, to shorter pieces with a minimum of 1,500 words.

Formats of Contributions

  • Article (6 000 words max) should be based on new research and contain analysis and argument.
  • Briefing is an adaptable format for writers to write on a wide range of subjects (2 500 – 4 000 words)
  • Focus examines an aspect of a chosen theme in detail (4 500 words max)
  • Profile looks in detail at an organisation, project or legislation, or a person (2 500 – 3 500 words)
  • Report-back covers reports on meetings, conferences workshops etc
  • (1 500 – 4 000 words)
  • Review typically reviews books or films (1 500 – 3 000 words)
  • Interview can record a conversation among a group of people or a one-on-one interview in which the writer asks the interviewee/s questions on a subject (1 500 – 3 000 words)
  • Open Forum is a vehicle for debate and argument, or pieces which deal with argument and difference of opinion on a subject/issue (2 500 – 4 000 words)
  • Perspective is an adaptable format in which writers are able to use a more personal reflective, narrative style (1 500 – 3 000 words)

Contributions should be submitted in the following format:

File type: Microsoft Word

Font: Arial

Size: 10 pt

Line spacing: single

Justification: left

Referencing: Harvard style

All submissions should have the following:

Abstract: 200 – 300 words

Keywords: approx 5 keywords

Bio: 100 – word author biography, including email address

Bio picture: head-and-shoulders photo in 300 dpi jpeg format

Contributors are encouraged to provide photos and/or graphics to illustrate their submission

Selection and Editing Process

All submissions are peer reviewed. Articles, briefing and focus pieces go through a double blind peer review process, while all other contributions are reviewed by at least one member of Agenda’s Editorial Advisory Group.

Reviewers comment on the suitability of a text for publication in the Agenda journal, as well as provide comments to help develop the piece further for publication if required. Contributors will be asked to rework the paper accordingly.

On resubmission, the piece will be assessed by the Agenda editor and a final decision made regarding its publication in the journal.

Please note that Agenda reserves the right to edit contributions with regard to length and accessibility or reject contributions that are not suitable or of poor standard.

Agenda also invites the submission of poems on the topic of women’s rights and gender.

Please note, as per Agenda’s policy, writers who have published in the journal within the last two years

WILL NOT BE ALLOWED to publish – to allow new writers to publish in Agenda.


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