Vacillations Around Women: The Overlapping Meanings of ‘Women’ in the Zimbabwean Context

  • Christine Sylvester
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


During Zimbabwe’s first twenty years, the term ‘women’ has been an equivocation, an ambiguity, and a vacillation – at least in high places. The new state promised power and esteem to women as ‘proletarians’ and ‘peasants,’ while making liberal claims of gender equality in a pluralist society, and doling out authoritarian punishments for women who ignored ZANU(PF) scripts. International and local development organizations brought programmes and projects to women, even as their representatives sometimes expressed ambivalence about ‘women’ as a site of development focus. There have also been old gender practices, such as brideprice and men’s once-exclusive rights to inheritance, intermingling with new venues in which average Zimbabweans shape their own rules, identities, behaviours, and destinies today.


Structural Adjustment Programme Liberal Regime Soviet Bloc Armed Struggle Gender Regime 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine Sylvester
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Social StudiesThe HagueNetherlands

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