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Journalist Dionne Searcey On Her ‘Pursuit of Disobedient Women’

Dionne Searcey, far right, doing reporting as a part of her work as West Africa bureau chief for the New York Times.
Dionne Searcey, far right, doing reporting as a part of her work as West Africa bureau chief for the New York Times.

In some parts of Western Africa, thousands of men have migrated to Europe in search of work to support their family. Most of them have never returned. In the aftermath of the ‘missing men’ phenomenon, the traditional roles for countless women in the region have been upended. Now, people like Dionne Searcey — former New York Times West Africa bureau chief — are calling it a social and economic revolution.

Through her new book “ In Search of Disobedient Women” Searcey chronicles the lives of women, herself included, navigating extraordinary circumstances across vast distances. One of those harrowing experiences Searcey covered was the kidnapping of scores of young women by Boko Haram, and how some escaped being forced into suicide bombings. But she also wrote about the rising tide of feminism in conservative West Africa as more women sought out divorces.

How good or bad of a job are American news organizations doing at covering West Africa? And what did Searcey take away from the stories she covered?

We talk to Searcey and her fixer, Jaime Yaya Barry about it.

Read an excerpt from Searcey’s new book here.

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