The scarcity of African women biblical scholars continues to impact the "everyday" grassroots theology for both women and men on the African continent.
The deficiency of women's voices in African theological discourse compels women — religious as well as lay — to depend on the dominant, male-centered theological reflections for insights in both spiritual and secular matters.
Consequently, the full import of spiritual empowerment and overall development that such reflections might offer is lost on the final recipients.
The reason is not far-fetched; theological reflections carry with them some gendered sensibility that often is not accessible to the "other." Almost devoid of feminine sensitivity, these interpretations, therefore, hardly prove liberating for women.
But some of that is about to change. With increased consciousness of incarnating the Word in the culture of a people, the concrete roles of cultural agents — women as well as men — can no longer be ignored.
We see this awareness in the increased number of African women religious embracing the field of exegetical research, an area still controlled by men. So it was indeed refreshing to have eight African women religious who are biblical scholars at the 18th Biennial Conference of the Pan-African Association of Catholic Exegetes (APECA, PACE).
The conference, held in the Atakpame diocese in Togo last September, recorded the largest number of women to attend the APECA Conference thus far. At Atakpame, African exegetes met to discuss and deliberate on the global concern of the moment, migration. The theme was "Migration in the Bible."