Summaries The article is an examination of the meanings associated with women’s clubs in sub?Saharan Africa. Such clubs have frequently been treated by donors as the preferred vehicle for policies of poverty alleviation. However, misplaced assumptions may have been made about the reasons for their formation and their automatic association with women’s gender interests. In particular, there is a difference between groups arising directly and explicitly from gender subordination and those which, at least partially, reflect a strategic response to donor agendas. This difference is seldom, if ever, noted in policy discourses. Male involvement in many groups suggests that a complicated process is at work in which alliances between some women and some men transcend what donors assume will be strategic alliances between women.