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Also look for Three Swahili Women: Life Histories from Mombasa; Kenya by Sarah Mirza and Margaret Strobel.

Together with malaria, AIDS is now the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa, and East Africa is no exception.

Although women arguably form the backbone of the economy I Laugh So I Won't Cry: Kenya's Women Tell the Stories of Their Lives, edited by Helena Halperin, offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of East African women.On the one hand, inflation is at low to moderate levels, economies are growing and tourism - despite several hard blows in recent years - is a major and increasingly important money earner.Yet all of the five countries covered in this book are ranked in the bottom third of the global United Nations' Human Development Index, which measures the overall achievements of a country according to factors such as income, life Female genital mutilation (FGM) - often euphemistically referred to as 'female circumcision' -is the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia.In one study in Kenya, over half of the women surveyed who had acquired HIV hadn't told their partners because they feared being beaten or abandoned.throughout the region - with most juggling child-rearing plus work on the family farm or in an office - they are frequently marginalised when it comes to education and politics.

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