‘The barriers that only you can see’: African Australian women thriving in tertiary education despite the odds

Ceridwen Spark, Anne Harris, Mimmie Claudim Ngum Chi


This qualitative study argues the need to recognise the increasing numbers of new African women migrants who have come to Australia with tertiary qualifications, but who are not necessarily refugees. These women are enrolling in and successfully completing university study. At the same time, the study makes clear the limits of conceptualising African Australian women’s experiences of education through a singular focus on struggle, disengagement and non-belonging. Rather, African Australian women’s enrolment in higher education needs to be seen as enabling new forms of participation and belonging in resettlement, while simultaneously impacting in multiple and sometimes personally challenging ways on the women’s more traditional cultural roles and identities. The article finishes by recognising that universities and other educational institutions can play a more active role in supporting migrant African women to thrive in tertiary educational contexts.


African, education, women, Sudanese, tertiary, qualitative

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4471/generos.2013.25

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Géneros - Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies | ISSN: 2014-3613

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