Empirical knowledge of the mobility of African scientists, and women scientists in particular, holds an important key to achieving future success in the science systems of the continent. In this article, we report on an analysis of a subset of data from a multi-country survey, in order to address a lack of evidence on the geographic mobility of academic scientists in Africa, and how it relates to gender and career development. First, we compared women and men from 41 African countries in terms of their educational and work-related mobility, as well as their intention to be mobile. We further investigated these gendered patterns of mobility in terms domestic responsibilities, as well as the career-related variables of research output, international collaboration, and receipt of funding. Our focus then narrowed to only those women scientists who had recently been mobile, to provide insights on the benefits mobility offered them. The results are interpreted within a theoretical framework centered on patriarchy. Our findings lead us to challenge some conventional wisdoms, as well as recommend priorities for future research aimed at understanding, both theoretically and empirically, the mobility of women in the science systems of Africa, and the role it may play in their development as academic leaders in African higher education institutions.
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