Women in Africa and the production of knowledge: Success in the doctoral landscape

Lifutso Tsephe


With the knowledge economy playing such a critical role in global economic development, increasing the number of Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) graduates in higher education institutions worldwide has been imperative. The knowledge economy emphasises the importance of critical thinkers and researchers, as 'doctoral education cultivates thinkers and researchers’ and equips them to participate in development. African-identifying females account for 30% of doctoral graduates in sub-Saharan African countries, even when PhD education is viewed as an entry into academia and a gateway to careers in research and other disciplines. There is a paucity of research regarding PhD graduates who are specifically women in Africa; as a result, there is little information about their attributes to success in PhD studies, what opportunities and freedoms they have, and what challenges they face during their PhD journey, along with their motivation to overcome these challenges so that they can achieve their goals. It is essential for women in Africa to complete their PhD education to contribute to the development of their countries as some scholars believe no nation can grow without women’s participation. Thus, modern civilisation is the result of males and females cooperating in modern society. Even though some women complete their PhD studies, there is scant research on what strategies enabled their success. Instead, the reasons for their attrition are known. This book aims to contribute to PhD education scholarship, specifically for women in Africa. It allows women in Africa to narrate their PhD experiences through resilience theory and the capabilities approach lenses.


  • Chapter 1
    Neglections of women in Africa within higher education
    Lifutso Tsephe
  • Chapter 2
    African women’s challenges within doctoral studies
    Lifutso Tsephe
  • Chapter 3
    Supervision is one of the critical aspects of doctoral education
    Lifutso Tsephe
  • Chapter 4
    African women doctoral graduates’ journey through the capabilities approach and resilience theory lens
    Lifutso Tsephe
  • Chapter 5
    Methodological stance
    Lifutso Tsephe
  • Chapter 6
    Women in Africa’s narratives of their doctoral journey
    Lifutso Tsephe
  • Chapter 7
    Lessons learned from individual stories narrated by women in Africa
    Lifutso Tsephe
  • Chapter 8
    Recommendations on how to better prepare for doctoral studies and increase women doctoral graduates in Africa
    Lifutso Tsephe


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