Gertrude Nkrumah & Christin Winter & ISB_Team

Fante Fertility Figure, anonymous artist, early 20th century, wood, height: 27,5 cm, origin: Fante, Ghana; exhibited at Museum Fünf Kontinente, Munich/Germany. Figure 2 (black and white): front and back side. Figure 3 & 4: Presentation at Museum Fünf Kontinente. © Museum Fünf Kontinente

Perspectives on an Akuaba Doll at the Museum Fünf Kontinente

The following three contributions show very different approaches to this object from the Museum Fünf Kontinente in Munich, Germany. The first contribution by Gertrude Nkrumah was written as part of the project "Re-curating the Africa collection of Museum Fünf Kontinente" (link). The second contribution by Chrstine Winter was developed in the context of a seminar at the University of Erlangen Nuremberg (FAU). Finally, the third was developed in the context of the work on the manual for teachers (link). All three texts show very different approaches and interpretations.


  • Gertrude Nkrumah
    Gertrude Nkrumah

    Inversion of Hegemony with Ideas of Femininity

    Scholarly works abound on factors and causes of gender inequality in the Ghanaian society and many of these writings address gender inequality solely in terms of women as the victims and thus reinforcing the gender stereotype of female passivity. Although this is true in most cases, such studies do not necessarily address the question of how women have responded to and addressed issues of gender expectations and gender-related roles in African societies. By using the ‘Akuaba’ doll (fertility figurine), this research seeks to explore how the concept of womanhood has been portrayed and represented through time in the Ghanaian society among the Akan ethnic group. It seeks to extend an argument for the interpretation of these images beyond the depiction of women as sexual objects to that of creating an inversion of female hegemony in the society. I argue that instead of considering gender stereotypes as an all-pervasive oppressive tool, we must begin to think of the finer nuances and conceptualize how women have shaped, redefined, and negotiated socio-cultural construction of gender.


    The object is widely referred to as the fertility figure, also known as the Akuaba doll among the Akans of Ghana. My reasons for selecting this object are two-fold. Firstly, it speaks to my childhood experiences as a girl growing up in an Akan society and secondly, as someone who is very passionate about gender-related issues either from an intellectual and personal perspectives, I was motivated to choose for this project an object that I can easily relate to, both from a personal and intellectual perspectives.


    The object in question is the depiction of a female body, an exhibition of the Akan concept of an ideal woman. The features include a flat forehead with an elongated “ring-like neck shape”1 which reflects Akan standard of beauty. The understanding is that a woman with this type of neck is well-fed, healthy, and strong, a paragon of beauty and affluence. The flat broad forehead also is an embodiment of wisdom, while the accentuated breasts and hips with beads worn arounds the waist is the Akan ideal of womanhood, a depiction of woman as the giver of life. The beads worn around the waist has both aesthetic and symbolical meanings. In terms of beauty, beads were worn as an ornament for beautification, just as portrayed by the wearing of the jewels around her ears. It was also believed that wearing of beads around the waist is sexually appealing, while beads were also worn to broaden the hips and shape the waist for reproductive purposes. It is important to note that in the Akan society, and indeed in most Ghanaian culture, an ideal woman is one that carries and bears children. Clearly, ideas of beauty, sexuality and reproduction were the very essence of womanhood or femininity in the Akan society.


    According to a very popular Akan oral tradition, the Akuaba doll is deeply rooted in one’s woman’s quest to overcome her inability in meeting societal ideas and expectation of womanhood.2 Akua, a childless woman, consulted a ritual specialist for a child. She was instructed to go to a woodcarver and make a doll of her choice for a child. Some rituals were then performed on the doll and given back to her to take home and treat and care for as her child. Later she became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter, just as she desired. The Akuaba doll then became symbolic for female reproduction. Amenumey explains that the Akuaba dolls were “…supposed to induce fertility and pregnancy….”.3 Among the Akan, like most precolonial Ghanaian societies, the concept of womanhood was largely defined and shaped by a woman’s ability to give birth to as many children as possible. Childbearing was a blessing from the gods and was usually celebrated with pomp and merrymaking. For instance, the custom was to reward a man whose wife has given birth to ten children with a sheep. The Akan refer to this as “badudwan”4 literally, a sheep for the tenth child. This was usually provided by the wife’s family to the husband to show their appreciation for the replenishing and sustainability of their family.5 In the quest to attain such feat, women worked hard to give birth to at least this number of children as prove of her worth to her husband and the society. This undoubtedly made women who were childless in the society feel undervalued and highly marginalized. 


    Such ideas and concepts of womanhood and inadvertent marginalisation of women still resonate in contemporary Ghanaian society and indeed in most contemporary societies. A woman’s value and worth continue to be tied with her sexual and reproductive abilities. Although women at present now have access to spaces and engage in works that go beyond the traditionally assigned roles of wife and motherhood (sexual and reproductive values), a woman is still expected to neatly fit in with socio-cultural construct of gender. This underscores the value place on women’s sexuality and reproduction to the detriment of other roles beyond these norms, thus leading to the marginalization of women. It is for these reasons that scholars such as Lerner and Allman have often called for the need to question entrenched patriarchal norms that undermine women’s oppression while it reinforces male- superiority.6


    The understanding that women have continually been passive and largely detached from the making of their own history and are mere tools in the hands of a patriarchal society is neatly contested by the history behind the Akuaba doll. While it is true that it was Akua’s desperation to fit into societal expectation of ideals of motherhood that forced her to consult a diviner to help her conceive a child, the knowledge that Akua chose to actively engaged with the process of making the doll; how the doll is carved out, the shape, the physical features, and the aesthetic nature is significant. Additionally, the fact that she chose to carve out a girl child clearly indicates the active role she played in redefining and negotiating power with the matrilineal, yet patriarchal society, thus creating and inverting power in an all-pervasive patriarchal institution. It is also an indication that she did not consider the female as of little value in her society. 


    Paradoxically then, the history and philosophical ideologies that underpin the concept of the Akuaba doll is a clear exhibition of the nuances and complexities of societal construction of gender roles and status. In a society with a deeply entrenched gender expectations and assigned gender roles, it is remarkable that Akua sought to circumvent, manipulate, and yet conversely acquiesce with existing status quo to her advantage, an inversion of hegemony amidst patriarchal privilege. Therein lies the ambiguities and contradictions of performing gender.






    • Addo-Fening, R (1973). Asante refugees in Akyem Abuakwa 1875-1912. Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana. 14, 1. 39-64.
    • Akyeampong, E & Obeng, P. (1995). Spirituality, Gender, and Power in Asante History. The International Journal of African Historical Studies. 28, 3. 481-508.
    • Allman, Jean. (1996). “Rounding up Spinsters: Gender Chaos and Unmarried Women in Colonial Asante.” Journal of African History, 37, 2, 195-214.
    • Amenumey, D. E. K. (2008). Ghana: A concise history from pre-colonial times to the 20th Century. Accra: Woeli Publishing.
    • Appiah Anthony K. (1991) “Is the Post- in Postmodernism the Post- in Postcolonial? Critical Inquiry. Vol. 17, No. 2. 336-357.
    • Lerner, G. (1994). The creation of feminist consciousness: From the Middle Ages to 1870. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    • Lerner, G. (1986). The creation of patriarchy. New York: Oxford University Press.




    1) It is quite common today to hear songs in the Ghanaian society eulogising a woman’s beauty by referring to her ring-shaped neck, together with other physical features. This is an indication that the Akan standard of beauty in the past as enshrined in the Akuaba doll continue to resonate with contemporary Ghanaian societies.

    2) This is a popular story among the Akans and was often recounted to young girls especially by an older woman in the family or society. I grew up listening to these stories from my mother and grandmother, among others.

    3) D. E K. Amenumey. (2008). Ghana: A concise history from pre-colonial times to the 20th Century. Accra: Woeli Publishing. P. 90.  From a spiritual and philosophical perspectives, the use of the Akuaba went beyond just fulfilling the desires of childless women. In most of these Akan societies, when a woman gives birth to twins but in an unlikely situation where one of them dies, she is expected to make a replica of an Akuaba doll in replacing the dead child. Some would also bury the dead child with the Akuaba doll as a way of warding off evil spirit from killing the living child.

    4) “Badu” is an Akan name for the tenth born child. ‘Ba’ or ‘ɛba’ is the Twi word for child, while ‘ɛdu’ or ‘du ‘means the number ten in the Akan language. Therefore, the name Badu in Akan usually refers to a tenth born child.

    5) It is significant to point out that Akan society, unlike most ethnic groups such as the Mole-Dagbani, Ewe, Ga-Adangbe and Guan, is mostly a matrilineal society. Lineage, inheritance, and chieftaincy succession have always been through the female line. Although precolonial Akan society was not completely immune from patriarchal ideals, women played important roles and and had significant status in society especially in areas of religion, politics and economy. For further details on this, see for example the articles Addo-Fening, R (1973). Asante refugees in Akyem Abuakwa 1875-1912. Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana. 14, 1. 39-64 & Akyeampong, E & Obeng, P. (1995). Spirituality, Gender, and Power in Asante History. The International Journal of African Historical Studies. 28, 3. 481-508.

    6) See for example, Allman, J. (1996). “Rounding up Spinsters: Gender Chaos and Unmarried Women in Colonial Asante.” Journal of African History, 37, 2, 195-214, Lerner, G. (1994). The creation of feminist consciousness: From the Middle Ages to 1870. Oxford: Oxford University Press., & Lerner, G. (1986). The creation of patriarchy. New York: Oxford University Press.



    This article is part of a gallery: Perspectives from Ghana on Museum Objects in Germany


    published January 2021


    A German Perspective on the Akuaba Doll in the Museum Fünf Kontinente Munich

    (Download the text in German)


    Akuaba Dolls are wooden figures that were and apparently still are in use mainly in rural areas in southern Ghana. Young women hoping for pregnancy or - if they are already pregnant - for the health and beauty of their child, wear these figures on their bodies like real babies and take care of them. That is why they are called 'dolls'.


    Akuaba or better Akua-Bà literally means 'child of Akua'. The story tells of "a woman named >Akua< who could not get pregnant and went to a local diviner or priest and commissioned the carving of a small wooden doll. She carried and cared for the doll as if it were her own child, feeding it, bathing it and so on. Soon the people in the village started calling it >Akua< >ba< - meaning >Akuaba's child<, since >ba< means child. She soon became pregnant and her daughter grew up with the doll." (Annor et al., p. 308)


    This story also forms the basis for the function of the widespread dolls as aids in a desire for pregnancy. An Akuaba Doll expresses this desire for a child, so the figure is 'cared for' by a girl from puberty onwards. This happens within the family. Outside the family, Akuaba Dolls can be found in shrines under the care of a ritual specialist, where they can be borrowed for their purpose.


    Figs. 1 and 2: Views of the Akuaba Doll in the Munich Museum Fünf Kontinente


    The doll in Munich's Museum Fünf Kontinente (Fig.1) comes from the Fante area. It shows a female figure. The very strongly abstracted forms and proportions symbolise various aspects:


    The rectangular shape of the very flat head becomes - seen from the front - somewhat broader in an elegant curve towards the top. A strikingly high forehead, with eyes, eyebrows and nose only indicated, while mouth and ears are missing. The accentuated arch segments of the eyebrows flow together and then form the nose. On the back, the head has geometric patterns (Fig. 2). Added earrings of glass beads give the figure a colourful accent. For Kecskési (p. 38), their daintiness is a sign that the doll has been lovingly treated. At the very top there is another small moulding with a hole where hair was originally attached (compare Fig. 3).


     3 akuaba

    Fig. 3a: Akuaba Doll from the Linden Museum Stuttgart (Forkl p. 94).   Fig. 3b: Use of the doll (drawing by Vanessa Rast - courtesy the artist)


    The neck has five rings. It sits on a very slender, round trunk, which in turn stands on a delicate base. Striking are two groups of three diagonal embrasures each, which are repeated on the back. The figure has no arms, the legs are short stumps. The protruding forms in the chest area mark the figure as female. Its strict symmetry is softened by small deviations. One can well imagine taking the cylindrical figure in one's hand.


    Material and technique

    A ritual specialist to whom a woman who wishes to have a child goes makes the decision about the choice of doll at the respective shrine. If no suitable figures are available there, he instructs the woman to order a new Akuaba Doll from the woodcarver. The craftsmen then visit the tree to obtain the wood and ask the tree's spirits for permission to do so (oral information from the Ghanaian colleagues 2022 in Bayreuth [Link]). The Akuaba Doll in the Munich Museum was carved from softwood. (There are also darker examples made of hardwood, for example among the Ashanti, also an Akan group, as the presentation in the Ghana National Museum in Accra shows - see Fig. 4.) In the example in Munich, eyebrows and nose are darker. 


    5 National Museum

    Fig. 4: Presentation of Akuaba Dolls at the Ghana National Museum in Accra (March 2023 - photo: the author)


    Interpretation of the Munich figure within the original Ghanaian context

    (1) Utility function: The figure is made for the family context. It is meant to lead to fertility, sometimes also to the beauty of a child. The size (height 28 cm), the pleasant material and the weight allow the figure to be carried and cared for like a baby. When an Akuaba Doll has fulfilled its task, it is often returned to the ritual specialist who accompanies the process.


    The breasts indicate a female figure, which does not necessarily have to do with a corresponding desire for the sex of the child desired. Forkl (p. 94) assumes, however, that "women desire daughters, on the one hand as progenitors in a matrilineality oriented society, and on the other hand as support in household work." (There are also Akuaba figures with the characteristics of both sexes and probably male specimens; furthermore, breastfeeding examples and those who in turn carry other Akuaba Dolls.)


    (2) Body shape: T The conspicuous and disproportionately large rectangular head symbolises the head as the seat of intellect and wisdom in local imagery. Akuaba figures among the Ashanti show round heads (see fig. 4), but they are also proportionally very large. High foreheads and flat faces correspond to the ideal of beauty. Luxuriant bulges on the necks tell that the figure is well-fed and thus refer to happiness and prosperity. There are Akuaba Dolls that show more feminine body shapes, wider hips, possibly emphasised by strings of pearls.


    (3) The spiritual context:  As Nkrumah writes in her contribution, an Akuaba figure serves as a dwelling place for a soul being, a being that is in a transitional area between the earthly and the spiritual world. Carrying and caring for it is a prerequisite for the entrance of such a soul being, which then sets out to appear on earth as a living being, i.e. to enter the family of the young woman through birth. A ritual specialist is involved in the selection, consecration and regulations for use. After a birth, the figure is returned to the ritual specialist.[1]


    (4) The social and cultural context: The figure can also be seen as a sign of the traditional expectation for a woman to bring children into the world. In recent times, where traditional societal expectations of women collide with other worldviews, the ritual use of Akuaba Dolls obviously decreases .


    4 airport

    Fig. 5: Souvenir shop at Accra Airport (March 2023 - photo: the author).

    In the last decades, an interesting production for tourism has been established - apparently the dolls are seen as 'typical for Ghana'. However, these are not Akuaba Dolls in the traditional sense, but rather 'quotes'.



    How can one relate Akuaba Dolls to European visual traditions and experiences?

    As familiar as the image of an Akuaba figure may seem in Europe - as a 'typical' example of traditional African art - its traditional meaning is unknown in Europe. Nevertheless, it obviously seems to be attractive to tourists, e.g. as 'airport art' (see Fig. 5), perhaps because its shape somehow corresponds to the cliché idea of 'typically African', the size fits well into the suitcase, or the large head (by means of the Bambi effect) makes it appear 'cute'.


    6 Klee

    Fig. 6: Paul Klee, Senecio, 1922, Oil on chalk base on gauze on cardboard, 40.3 × 37.4 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel (Wiki Commons).


    In the context of art history, the influence of Akuaba Dolls (and many other carved representations from West Africa) on European art of the early 20th century (see Fig. 6) is of interest. [2] The formal similarity to Klee's painting (fig. 6) is striking at first glance, but whether this is a direct reference must first be verified. In the context of art history, it would then be of interest in a next step which aesthetics were of interest to the artists at the time and which they blanked out, i.e. which "image of Africa" they wanted to have and also communicate.


    7 Ankh Symbol

    Fig. 7: Hieroglyph Anch


    The authors also considered whether the formal similarity of the Akuaba Dolls with the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph ‘Anch’ (the "loop of life" or the "key of life" - see Fig. 7) could have come about through a historical relationship between Egypt and Ghana. This would also correspond to the accentuation of content in Nkrumah's text with regard to the "representation of the woman as the giver of life" (see her chapter). Nevertheless, this association would also have to be examined more closely. To assume a universal archetype in the sense of C. G. Jung appears to be pedagogically misleading in its levelling effect.


    In the German educational context, on the other hand, it seems important to link the figure - beyond clarifying its function - to Akua's story and thus include the role of narratives. This prevents another comparison that is also too quick and reductive when it comes to social practices (and not the isolated object), as dolls are also cared for and nurtured in traditional European contexts, but mostly by young children before puberty. So, in Europe, it does not belong to a fertility ritual, even if the child puts itself in the role of a ‘little mother’ or ‘little father’. (Another interesting question, whether Ghanaian women also go to a doctor when they are not pregnant, and whether there are comparable ritualised practices in Central Europe - for example among alternative practitioners or in esoteric circles - would have to be addressed in interdisciplinary approaches.)


    Such comparisons appear to be useful, as they can show both similarities and differences, with the aim of better recognising one's own perceptual conventions or stereotypes and thus putting them into perspective. All this still leaves the question of the status of this doll in Munich when it is displayed in a showcase in a European museum (see Lab entry: What is an object? Link). Such a presentation contradicts its ritual and spiritual use. An Akuaba is then no longer an Akuaba. But what is it then?



    This text is based on:

    • Contribution by Gertrude Nkrumah: https://explore-vc.org/en/objects/the-akuaba-doll.html
    • Talks with the Ghanaian EVC partners in Bayreuth in 2022: https://explore-vc.org/en/activities/archive/april-22-25-2022-joint-workshop-uew-team-and-isb-team.html
    • The presentation at the National Museum in Accra, seen in March 2023: Fig. 4.
    • Reading: see list of references


    • Akyeampong, E & Obeng, P. (1995). Spirituality, Gender, and Power in Asante History. The International Journal of African Historical Studies. 28, 3. pp 481-508
    • Anderson, Elizabeth L. (1989): The Levels of Meaning of an Ashanti Akua'ba. In: Michigan Academican. 21 205-219
    • Annor, I., Dickson, A & Dzidzornu, A. G. (2011): General Knowledge in Art. Accra (Aki-Ola Publications)
    • Forkl H. (1997): Healing and body art in Africa. Stuttgart (Lindenmuseum)
    • Kecskési, M. (1999): Kunst aus Afrika - Museum für Völkerkunde München. Munich (Prestel)



    [1]              The number of five neck bulges here (there are also specimens with 3, 8 or 9 bulges) may also   be a reference to the sacred number of "Odumankoma", the Akan creator deity, in this context.

    [2]              On the relationship of the European avant-garde to the aesthetics of West African carvings, see also the discussion of the Blue Rider post on this website (link 1 and 2).


    Christin Winter
    Christin Winter

    My Encounter with Black Feminism and Womanhood Inspired by the Akuaba Doll


    I first came in contact with the Akuaba Doll while reading Bernardine Evaristo’s award winning book Girl, Woman, Other. In the book, the character Nazinga was described as “at least six foot tall with ornamented dreadlocks, large wooden Akuaba fertility doll earrings, red trousers, a cream embroidered caftan and strappy Roman sandals“ (Evarsito 2020, p. 81). I searched for Akuaba fertility doll earrings on the internet, but did not delve further into the topic at this time. A few weeks later, attending a seminar with Dr. Wagner at Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen, I stumbled upon the Akuaba Doll again. I knew, I had to take this opportunity to get to know her better. The comment from Gertrude Nkrumah is to be considered my first source of information about the history of origin and the tradition into which the Akuaba Doll is woven.


    Through Nkrumah's feminist perspective on the Akuaba Doll, I wanted to dive deeper into the topic of Black Feminism to extend my knowledge in feminist theory. With the Akuaba Doll as my point of departure, I decided to focus on the ability to bear children and the social significance of abortions for Black women.[1]


    At this point I move past the Akuaba Doll and her cultural context. Other works of art could have led me to a similar path. I have chosen to look at the Akuaba Doll with categories, which are not directly related to the Akuaba Doll and her cultural context as I questioned whether I have the right to write about the Akuaba Doll considering the colonial past of my own country, Germany. I am a white, European woman, a feminist, who is aware of intersectionality and racist structures within the society I have been socialised in and its way of thinking, but with no cultural connection to the Akuaba Doll other than the colonial impact on African art and culture (cf. Kushinator, Rahman and Dompreh, 2020[2]). Therefore, I chose a topic to which I have access via my role as a student of pedagogy and focus on Black Feminism and Womanhood of Black women living in white-dominated countries.


    In white-dominated societies, Black women were excluded from a feminist movement for decades (cf. hooks, p. 216f.). White women systematically utilised the racist hierarchy within women to gain power and thereby forced a specific Black feminist movement to form and uncover the oppression Black women had and still have to face. The prefix “Black” emphases the specific oppression Black women face in white-dominated countries, although, of course, there has been feminist movements in Black-dominated countries before (cf. Roig quoted from Berlin Biennale 2022, 48:00 – 49:50).


    In American history, Black women have always had to fight to be seen as women. As bell hooks gets to the heart of it: “the black female was a creature unworthy of the title woman; she was mere chattel, a thing, an animal” (hooks 2015, p. 214). Sojourner Truth[3] had to bare her breasts to prove that she was a woman indeed. Being yelled at “I don’t believe you really are a woman” by a white man represents the contempt and disrespect for Black womanhood (cf. hooks 2015, p. 214). In her famous speech “Ain’ I a Woman” (1851), she argues, that she – as her white women audience too – is indeed a woman. Here she argues with characteristics, that can also be found in the Akuaba Doll. The most important argument is the carrying and bearing of children and the “mother’s grief” (Truth 1851 quoted from hooks 2015, p. 215) she cried out, when her children were sold into slavery.


    The ability to bear children has always played an important role in the history of womanhood and was – and still is – utilised to oppress and exploit Black women. In times of slavery, Black women were forced to procreate and bear children, who were worth a lot of money in a perfidious system of human trafficking (cf. Federici 2020, p. 23f.). In the late 20th century, Black men in the U.S. reasserted what they called their “rightful positions as patriarchs” (Taylor 2022) and denounced birth control and abortions as genocide that compromised the future and freedom of Black families by limiting the Black population (cf. Federici, p. 25f.). With the overturn of Roe v. Wade[4] – Black women are specifically affected, as Kwajelyn Jackson, Executive Director of the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Atlanta, Georgia puts it into a nutshell: "Abortion bans are inherently racist because they do not consider the lived experiences of Black people and other communities of colour. Many state policymakers would rather criminalize and endanger Black birthing people than supply them with all of the resources they actually need" (Jackson quoted from Long 2022). Even before the abortion laws were restricted, Black (and other BIPoc) women in the U.S were two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women (cf. CDC 2019). Being allowed to decide whether you want children or not and furthermore, having access to certain facilities to end a pregnancy or not is still a bound to privileges. It is not only tied to the health care system, but also to cultural beliefs and practices, to the financial and educational background, as well as to class, race and many other factors.


    In a world imprinted by patriarchy and privilege, it is important to unravel power structures that dominate our world, uncover where they come from and how different groups are affected differently. As patriarchal patterns of thought are inscribed in nearly all societies of our world, it is a tough task to uncover them in every aspect of our lives and hence require lifelong learning and feminist thought. Nevertheless, it is indispensable in order to build an anti-racist gender-equal society in which every woman can decide herself, if she wants to get children without fearing financial or social consequences.


    In this context the Akuaba Doll can be interpreted as an early moment of feminism, where women disrupt the patriarchal system that marginalizes them. As Nkrumah states, by deciding about the gender of her child in a binary system, she chose to bear a girl rather than a boy, which – in the matrilineal line – effects the lineage, inheritance, and chieftaincy succession (cf. Nkrumah 2020). In my eyes, Akua used the power she had to influence her life to her advantage. Yet the worth of women was still tied to her sexual and reproductive abilities, but nevertheless she made a first step by empowering women to stand up for themselves and for their own lives.



    Berlin Biennale (2022). Panel: Afrofeminism. Bridging the Gap. <https://12.berlinbiennale.de/media/panel-afrofeminisms-bridging-the-gap/> (09/30/2022).

    Center for Reproductive Rights (2022). The World’s Abortion Laws. <https://reproductiverights.org/maps/worlds-abortion-laws/> (09/30/2022)

    Evaristo, B. (2020). Girl, Woman, Other. UK: Penguin Books.

    Federici, S. (2020). Jenseits unserer Haut. Körper als umkämpfter Ort im Kapitalismus. Münster: Unrast.

    hooks, b. (2015). Ain’t I a Woman. Black Women and Feminism. New York: Routledge.

    Kushiator, G., Rahman, A. and Dompreh, H.-O. (2020). The Influence of Western Culture on Traditional Art Forms and Cultural Practices: ‘Akuaba’ doll among Akan Women in Africa. ADRRI Journal of Arts and Social Sciences, Ghana: Vol. 17, No.6 (5), S.59 – 71.<https://www.researchgate.net/publication/344438737_The_Influence_of_Western_Culture_on_Traditional_Art_Forms_and_Cultural_Practices_%27Akuaba%27_Doll_Among_Akan_Women_in_Africa> (09/30/2022).

    Long, S. (2022). Abortion Bans pose a Danger to all Mothers. For Black Women, they’re especially damaging. <https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/10/10015405/abortion-ban-racism-black-women-effects> (09/30/2022).

    Nkrumah, G. (2021). Inversion of Hegemony with Ideas of Feminity. <https://www.explore-vc.org/en/objects/the-akuaba-doll.html> (09/30/2022).

    Taylor, K.-Y. (2022). How Black Feminists defined Abortion Rights. <https://www.newyorker.com/news/essay/how-black-feminists-defined-abortion-rights> (09/30/2022).



    [1] In this context, I will delve into the topic of reproductive abilities and use the term "woman" throughout my text. However, I want to clarify that the ability to bear children is not a defining characteristic of womanhood. Not all women have a uterus, and not all women are able to bear children. Furthermore, one's physical appearance is not a determining factor of one's gender identity. Despite this, the reproductive ability is instrumentalised in our society and can lead to harmful stereotypes, which many women are confronted with at some point in their lives.

    [2] In addition to exploring the different forms and cultural backgrounds of Akuaba Dolls, this article delves into the ways in which culture, religion, and artistic expression are intertwined in African cultures. The article points out how the colonization by white, western, and Christian men and women caused a change in function and values of the Akuaba Doll.

    [3] Sojourner Truth lived from 1797 to 1883. She was an American abolitionist of New York Dutch heritage and a women’s rights activist. She was born into slavery, but escaped to freedom in 1826. In 1851 she joined George Thompson, an abolitionist and speaker, on a lecture tour through central and western New York State. At the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, she gave her speech with later became famous as “Ain’t I a Woman?”

    [4] Roe v. Wade is a legal case in which the U.S Supreme Court ruled that unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional and that the Constitution of the United States generally protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion. This decision from 1973 was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022.