Issues confronting women the world over, are peculiar for its similarities than its differences and are not specific to any given culture, continent, country or ethnic grouping. They are colour blind, non-racial, and ageless. They are ubiquitous. Even in the Western countries where the fight for gender equality has been fought and achievements chalked to such an extent that it (gender equality) has become commonplace, one could easily point to certain discrimination against the fair sex; nevertheless, the intensity – depth and width – of this discrimination varies across cultures. Because these problems emanate from an established patriarchal society, they are structural in nature and, when not interrogated and challenged, are bound to be propagated from one generation to the other, even by individuals who have no intention of doing so; for none is explicitly tutored to hate women. People are only asked to implement what traditions –sometimes developed by a council of men – stipulate. So that, at some point in time, the victims of such eolithic laws become its ardent adherents, perpetrating it with ardour and tranquillity with the belief of advancing an ancestral course; widowhood rites and clitoridectomy being examples. For so long a time, women have passively subjected themselves to this maltreatment that generations of women took the abnormal to be the norm. Those who broke out and fought back were branded as witches and were isolated, banished and sometimes weirdly mythologised. But because ‘no one takes the medicine for a sick person’, women never left the fight. The struggle relentlessly was waged. This birthed the Affirmative Action, which sought to address these rights discrimination. In Africa, the struggle is still in its nascent stages and, though several successes have been chalked, there are more to be done to address these inherent, culture-defined practices. In movies – the woman is a dullard, unable to think herself out of problems, waiting to be saved by a more intelligent, macho man;this arc is common even in Hollywood-produced movies. In Nollywood movies and movies from across other parts of Africa, the women are witches sabotaging the financial successes of their sons and preventing their daughters from having children; or they are prostitutes who will later be rescued by a rich, genteel male client; or are arrogant to the point of insanity,if they’re financially successful. Or are financially successful but unmarried and, by some twisted logic, desperate.However, successes have been chalked; awareness has been created and there is a belief that the young husbands of today are different from their fathers in terms of the spousal relationships and respect and home-keeping and equality of rights. But behind these successes are women who are struggling, and fighting tirelessly, sometimes sacrificing careers, at other times adding onto them. It is these women that Nana Darkoa-Sekyiamah interviews in her book, Women Leading Africa: Conversations with Inspirational African Women (African Women’s Development Fund, 2011; 177). Reading this book one gets a picture of women virtually waging a war for their rights, and even though sometimes they send conflicting messages regarding their personal opinions and beliefs, their vision remains the same. There are some who don’t believe in labels and will reluctantly call themselves feminists; there are others who boldly describe themselves as such, and with pride. Again, whereas some believe that religion discriminates against women, others indulge in a feminist reading of the bible. It is this diversity in a unified purpose that brings them successes, for both the Christian and the Atheist still could have a common ground to share ideas and advance a humane course. Thus, the fight for women’s right is no longer about one person getting into a position of authority; it is about that girl in the village getting access to equal education and having equal chance of getting a job. It is no longer about pacifying women with positions or by doting on them but by changing laws so that they can make their own choices regarding where and what their future should be. By bringing all these women together into one compendium, Nana Darkoa has clearly shown that there is comfort and safety for anyone contemplating to join the fight for women’s right and gender equality. However, if there is anything that treads through all the interviews, it is that the fight against injustices against women requires a conscious and decisive participation, and not passive head-nodding and secret-support (bedroom-support), if changes are to be made; for challenging the status quo, interrogating traditions and demanding answers is not a passive exercise. If it were, it would have been achieved a long time ago, without intervention. Women Leading Africa is divided into three sections – Politics, The Arts, and Feminist Spaces. The Politics section has names like Hon. WinnieByanyima, Hon. Margaret Dongo, VerbahGayflor, Hon. PregaluxmiGovender, Hon. Catherine Mabobori and Wendy Pekeur. What some of these women did, have done and are doing will amaze the reader. As an example, Hon. Margaret Dongo, at fifteen, fought in Zimbabwe’s Liberation War, became a Member of Parliament for the Zanu-PF party, and is now president of the opposition Zimbabwe Union of Democrats. Anyone who has read Fiona Leonard’s Chicken Thiefand Shimmer Chinodya’s Harvest of Thorns will relate to this, except that this is no fiction. The Arts section features publishers, authors and writers. Here one will find Ama Ata Aidoo, BibiBakare-Yusuf, RudoChigudu, TsitsiDangarembga, Ayesha HarrunaAttah and WanuriKahiu. Ama Ata Aidoo’s work with Mbaasem Foundation, created to provide writing space for women but which grew to become something bigger, was highlighted. Ayesha HarunaAttah talked about the women in her novel Harmattan Rain. She came across as not very glued to the feminist agenda but anyone who had read her book knowsotherwise. Through her occupation as a publisher and owner of Cassava Republic, Bibifights against prosaic prejudicessince they feed into the reader’s conscience. Florence Butegwa, LeymanGbowee, Jessica Horn, Dr MusimbiKanyoro, Mercy AmbaOduyoye and Mary Wandia were grouped under the Feminist Spaces section. LeymanGboweeis the co-winner of 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, which she shared with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Gbowee’s non-violent demonstrations and insistence on peace treaties saw the end of the Liberian civil war. Her struggle has been documented in the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell. She also worked to get Ellen elected for a second term. Mercy Oduyoye’s interview is very fascinating. It was nice to know how a feminist reads the bible, especially when most have castigated the book for been oppressive. However, Mercy says questions must be asked; who are those writing the book? Who are those telling the story? She has views that could easily have been described as blasphemous but which answers most of the questions usually raised and she is unapologetic about them. From the interview one could see some sort of distinction between men, as individuals, and men as used in reference to a patriarchal society. Hence, interrogating the structures and that idea (which makes men think they have authority over all) should be the focus, some think. Breaking down and rebuilding the structures and the consciences, cannot be done by women alone – after all there are some women who themselves want to keep the status quo. It can be done when we all decide enough is enough; that we want to see change and that this change has enormous developmental consequences. Which society ever developed when a large part of its people are discriminated against? However, since he who feels it, knows it more, they have to take the lead just as they have done. My observations from this reading could have been influenced by my gender. Perhaps like Oduyoye, I did a masculine reading of the book or perhaps I was afraid to confront myself. Whatever the case may be, this book will take the reader on a journey and it is one worth taking. I recommend it unreservedly to all.