Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Africa South of the Sahara. Memorial Library Reference DT 1 A198 (for current editions; previous editions in Non-current Reference Collection). Published annually. A real treasure trove of information on political, social and economic data, arranged by regional and continental organizations and then alphabetically by country. Includes a large number of statistics and directory-type information.

Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara. 4 vols. New York: Charles Scribners, 1997.Memorial Library Reference DT 351 E53. Good source for background information on specific topics and individuals. Articles are written by recognized experts in the field.

Historical Dictionary of X Memorial Library Reference Call number varies by country). There is one for practically every country. Many volumes are in their third edition. Contains helpful bibliographies organized by broad subjects. Some include a section on women or gender.

Reflections on Gender Issues in Africa. Harare: SAPES Books, 1999. Memorial Library Reference HQ 1787 R44 1999 c.2. Provides overview essays on such questions as electoral process and women contestants, musical practice as a gender experience, the third Chimurenga, resistance innovations in African feminist literary discourses, and the empowerment and development of women in Egypt.     

Women in the Third World: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Issues.  New York : Garland Pub., 1998 Memorial Library Reference HQ1870.9 W6548 1998. Geographical essays ('Women in East Africa," "Women in West Africa," "Women in Southern Africa," etc., and on topical entries concerned with marriage/family, economic production, and enabling conditions for change, and more.


African Women : A General Bibliography, 1976-1985. Greenwood Press, 1989. Memorial Library Reference HQ 1787 B73 1989

Bibliographies for African Studies, 1970-1986. Oxford Hans Zell, 1988 Memorial Library Reference DT 3 S3. An excellent place to start when building a preliminary bibliography. Very comprehensive in scope. Arranged by region and alphabetically by country with a subject index. Supplemented by a volume that covers from 1987 to 1993 (DT 3 S33)

Die Rolle der Frau in Afrika (The Role of Women in Africa) Memorial Library Oversize Shelving Z3504 D6812 vols. 21, 24 & 26

Women in Southern Africa: A Bibliography. University of Natal, 1991 Memorial Library Reference HQ 1800 W598 1991

Women of Eastern and Southern Africa; A Bibliography, 1976-1985. Greenwood Press, 1989 Memorial Library Reference HQ 1787 B74 1989

Women of Northern, Western and Central Africa; A Bibliography, 1976-1985. Greenwood Press, 1989 Memorial Library Reference HQ 1787 B75 1989

World Bibliographical Series: X Call number varies by country. There is a volume for each country. Arranged alphabetically by topic. The best way to access publications on women is through the index.          

Periodical Indexes

Africa Bibliography. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Memorial Library Reference Z 3501 A37.Published annually since 1985. List a wealth of research on various topics of Africana relevance with emphasis on the social, environmental sciences, humanities and the arts. The arrangement is general and regional. Includes works in other languages than English. Look up "Gender"in both the general section and the country section.

Africa Research Bulletin. Memorial Library Reference DT 1 A1955. Comes in two series (political/social/cultural; economic/financial/technical). Published monthly with wide range of information.

A Current Bibliography of African Affairs. Memorial Library Reference Z 3501 C85.   Published quarterly. The arrangement is general and regional. The table of contents located on the back cover includes "Gender" and "Women".           

International African Bibliography. Memorial Library Reference Z 3501 I52. Published quarterly since the 70's. Arranged by regions then alphabetically by country. Contains 4 major annual indexes - subject, author, language, ethnic group. Best to "Social Studies - Women or Sex roles for relevant articles and other types of publications.

Quarterly Index to Periodical Literature: Eastern Africa Memorial Library Reference Z 3501 L455. Prepared by the Library of Congress Field Office in Nairobi, Kenya since 1991. This index is unique as it lists only articles published in Africa. Most other indexes overlook these publications.    


Statistical Record of Women Worldwide. College Library Reference; Memorial Library Reference Desk HQ 1150 S73 1991


Africa: A Guide to Reference Material. Oxford: Hans Zell, 1993. Memorial Library Reference DT 3 M33. Covers handbooks, yearbooks, statistical compendia, directories, biographical sources, and maps and gazetteers.

French Colonial Africa: A guide to Official Sources Oxford: Hans Zell, 1992 Memorial Library Reference DT 532 W47. Very useful for government documents from Francophone Africa. Name changes are taken into consideration.

Guide to Non-Federal Archives and Manuscripts in the United States Relating to Africa. Oxford: Hans Zell, 1989 Memorial Library Reference CD 3002 S68. Very comprehensive in scope. Includes all formats (microformats, audio tapes) from hundreds of small depositories around the country.         

International Directory of African Studies Research. Oxford, Hans Zell, 1993 Memorial Library Reference DT 19.8 I58. Lists over 1800 organizations with Africa-related interest. Covers the U.S., Western Europe and Africa.

Women's Movements of the World: An International Directory and Reference Guide. College Library Reference; Memorial Library Reference HQ 1883 W63 1988

Current Periodicals by/about Women in Africa

["CWI" = Contemporary Women's Issues database; Proquest and Genderwatch are also databases -- use the database links above; if no database version is specified, look the title up in Madcat to find the call number and location for the print publication]

African journal of reproductive health (Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria)

Agenda : a journal about women and gender (Durban, South Africa)

Ahfad journal : women and change (Omdurman, Sudan); Proquest, CWI, and print

Echo : bilingual quarterly newsletter of the Association of African Women for Research and Development = bulletin trimestriel bilingue de l'Association des femmes africaines pour la recherche et le développement (Dakar, Senegal); scattered issues

FEMNET news (African Women's Development and Communication Network, Nairobi, Kenya); in CWI

Gender review : Kenya's women and development quarterly (CWI) [may have ceased]

Impact (ISIS: Women's International Cross Cultural Exchange [WICCE], Kampala, Uganda); GenderWatch

Jenda: a journal of culture and African women studies.
Africa Resource Center, Inc., Endicott, NY, c2001-

Newsletter of the Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Education Trust (Harare, Zimbabwe)

Our rights ( African Women's Development and Communication Network [FEMNET], Nairobi, Kenya) in CWI

Southern African feminist review : SAFERE (Harare, Zimbabwe)

Sister Namibia (Katutura, Namibia); GenderWatch, CWI, and print

Speak out / Taurai / Khulumani (Harare, Zimbabwe)

The Tribune : a women and development quarterly (not just on Africa, but very useful for topics such as technology, violence, women’s rights, indigenous knowledge, environment, and microenterprise); CWI, GenderWatch -- but use the print version for the extensive graphics

Womanplus: Zimbabwe Women's Resource Centre & Network news bulletin (CWI)



USEFUL DATABASES, all accessible from the Libraries' "E-Resource Gateway"


Contemporary Women's Issues
Full-text access to journals, newsletters, reports, pamphlets, bibliographies, fact sheets, and other material on a broad array of women and gender-related issues around the world.

Full-text articles from about 100 magazines, academic journals, regional publications, and newsletters; thirteen books on women and gender; and many special reports, including conference proceedings and government reports. Articles labeled "Diversity Folio" are selected from newspapers and magazines of American ethnic communities.

Women's Studies International
Composite of ten contributing databases with citations to books, book reviews, articles, and reports covering women's studies, women's issues, and gender-focused scholarship from throughout the world. Corresponds to Women Studies Abstracts (1984-), New Books on Women & Feminism (1987-), and other components. Includes some tables of contents for books and some links to websites.


Other Databases (Selected)

Academic Search FullText 1984-
Full text database of more than 3000 journals covering all academic areas.

CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online)
Comprehensive source for theory and research in international affairs. It includes full- text of working papers from 58 organizations, full-text of the proceedings of conferences sponsored by 17 organizations, abstracts from eleven major international affairs journals, and abstracts and/or reviews of books.

Fulltext articles from newspapers and magazines. To search Africa and Middle Eastern periodicals, select "World News" from the News category and "Middle East/Africa" from the News Source category.

Other news sources include's links to African newspapers:,'s site (use the drop-down menu under Africa):

Proquest Research Libraries 1988-
Indexes more than 2,000 periodicals, and provides the full text of nearly 1,000 of them. It has a mix of general interest and academic journals

Public Affairs Information Service 1972-
Indexes more than 900 journals; books; government documents; statistical compilations; committee reports; directories; serials; reports of public, intergovernmental, and private organizations; and most other forms of printed literature from all over the world.

World News Connection July 1994 - to date (updated daily)
Major source of English language translations of foreign media, compiled by the U.S. government from thousands of non-U.S. media sources

For additional databases, browse the "Area and International Studies" and "Social Sciences and Education" picks from the drop-down menu under "Databases by Subject" on the libraries' journals page ( ).


Successful use of the Internet combines some keyword searching using web search engines, such as Google with use of "metasites," where someone familiar with a topic has pre-selected useful links.

Search engine Searching

In Google, be sure to put phrases within quotation marks; also include other terms you would like the results to include. Include variant spellings. (You could also substitute the names of individual African countries.) .Examples:

Sometimes using Google's advanced search screen will help. For example, you can request that Google find the words only in the titles of web pages.Try a regular search women Uganda and one requiring the words to be in the title. The number of hits is cut down considerably.

Effective web searching also involves being able to critically evaluate the hits that turn up, asking questions such as What is the purpose or point of view of the site? Who wrote it? When was it written? How can you verify the accuracy of the information? For further help on evaluating websites, try the web evaluation tutorial, which uses examples from international women's issues.


Metasites African Women's Bibliographic Database: Women's News:

African Women links maintained by Karen Fung, Stanford University:

Women and Development websites on the Women's Studies Librarian's "International..." page: Here are links to gender aspects of development sites such as the Eldis database and Bridge Development-Gender Online Reports, both from the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex, the World Bank, US AID, and the Dimitra Project, which has a database of organizations and projects on rural women and development, etc.

Women's News sources include the International Women's Tribune Center's newsletter Women's Globalnet and Aviva:

U.N. sites with women/gender information:


Links to directories of women's organizations

Global List of Women's Organizations: (Search by country; site not updated since 2000)

Mapping the World of Women's Information Services: . Click on "click here to search the database." It is then possible to search the database by continent Africa or by individual country name.

Aviva, an international women's listing and magazine, has an Index of International Women's Organizations:


Selected Individual African Women's Organizations and Research Centers with Websites

A.F.A.C.: Cameroonian Women's Associations:
Africa Gender Institute (South Africa):
Center for Strategic Initiatives of Women's Strategic Initiatives in the Horn of Africa
(SIHA) Network

Enda/Synfev; Synergy, Gender and Development (Senegal):
Famafrique (Senegal):
Federation of African Media Women SADC:
Flame: African Sisters Online:
National Center for Women Development (Nigerian Center established by the federal government):
Tanzania Gender Networking Programme:
Women of Uganda Network:
Women'sNet (South Africa):
Women's Consortium of Nigeria:
Zambia National Women's Lobby:

This page

was prepared by Phyllis Holman Weisbard and Emilie Ngo-Nguidjol, Oct. 18, 2002

Return to Course Hand-outs

Go to the UW System Women's Studies Librarian's homepage.