Faculty Name

Esther O. Ajayi-Lowo, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor


New2021,Comparative Women's Studies



Office Location

Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D. Academic Center Room 213


Ph.D., M.A., Texas Woman’s University
M.I.L.D., University of Lagos
B.A., Obafemi Awolowo University


Esther O. Ajayi-Lowo, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of women’s studies/women’s health in Comparative Women’s Studies at Spelman College. Dr. Ajayi-Lowo holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in multicultural women’s and gender studies from Texas Woman’s University; a master’s degree in international law and diplomacy from the University of Lagos, Nigeria; and a B.A. in philosophy (first class honors) from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

She was trained in human rights and the United Nations systems at the United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan. Prior to becoming a college professor, Dr. Ajayi-Lowo worked for over a decade on health, gender, human rights and development issues in Nigeria with both non-governmental and governmental organizations, including the U.S. Mission in Nigeria. She joins Spelman with a strong background in the field of women’s and gender studies, extensive teaching experience, commitment to community service, and expertise in advocacy for women’s rights, reproductive health and social justice.

Dr. Ajayi-Lowo’s recent scholarly research focuses on birth and reproductive justice for Black women of African descent at the intersection of race, gender and nationality. Her dissertation, “Decolonizing Childbirth: Women, Traditional Birth Attendants, and Reproductive Justice in Nigeria,” explores the significance of indigenous birthing knowledge and women’s birthing standpoints for reproductive justice in Nigeria with transnational connection to Black women in the U.S. Among other several international and competitive scholarships and awards, Dr. Ajayi-Lowo’s research received the American Association of University Women’s International Fellowship, the Mellon Foundation–funded Social Science Research Council’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship, and the Philanthropic Educational Organization’s  International Peace Scholarship.

As a scholar-activist-teacher, Dr. Ajayi-Lowo is committed to bridging research, advocacy and pedagogy for social justice globally. In addition to her research, publication and teaching commitment to women’s studies and global Black women’s health, she led campus-wide reproductive justice advocacy events, facilitated workshop sessions on sexuality education and reproductive justice, and co-facilitated an anti-racist pedagogy workshop as a doctoral student at Texas Woman’s University. She is also the founder of Omoge Maktown Support Initiative for mentoring girls and young women in Lagos, Nigeria.

At Spelman, she looks forward to not only teaching women’s studies and women’s health related courses but also committing to reproductive justice advocacy, effective student advising, and community services for gender and social change.

Courses Taught

CWS 270.01 Introduction to Women’s Studies
CWS 270.02 Introduction to Women’s Studies
CWS 412.01 Gender, Health in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Research Interests

Indigenous Birthing Epistemologies; Black Women’s Maternal Health; Global Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice; Politics of Sexuality Education; Feminist/Womanist Theories and Praxis; African Feminisms; African Epistemologies; African Research Methodologies; Transnational Feminism; Transnational Pedagogies; Gender, Law, and Human Rights.


Book Chapters
“Resisting through Pedagogy: Transnationalizing the Women’s and Gender Studies’ Introductory Curriculum.” Decolonial Feminist Praxis: Centering Knowledge & Resistance at the Margins, edited by Annie Isabel Fukushima and K. Melchor Hall. 2021, forthcoming.

“The Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act in Nigeria: A Critique of Body Policing.” The Politics of Gender, edited by Adrienne Trier-Bieniek, Brill Sense, 2018, pp. 71-92.

Reference Entries
“Natural Birth Movement.” Women’s Health: Understanding Issues and Influences, a 2-Volume Reference, ABC-CLIO Press, 2021, forthcoming.

“Sex Education.” Women’s Health: Understanding Issues and Influences, a 2-Volume Reference, ABC-CLIO Press, 2021, forthcoming.

White Papers
“Sexuality Education: A Reproductive Health Right.” Under the BAOBAB Tree: BAOBAB for Women’s Rights, Vol 7, 2008. pp 15-16.

“Women’s Rights: A Necessity for Economic Development.” African Policy Watch: Centre for African Affairs and Global Peace, Issue No 7, January to March 2011, pp. 1-9.

Public Essays
Denying Education to a Girl Child is a Form of Abuse.” C21stnigeria, 7 Dec 2017.

Ajayi-Lowo, Esther, Dennis Barbee, Karen Bravo, and Hannah Nji. “Negotiating Privilege: Teaching, Learning, and Acknowledging Privilege.” Is It In the Syllabus?, April 2017.

Sexuality Education for Reproductive Justice.” Teaching Justice/Reproducing Justice, August 2016.