Women in Zimbabwe: Stated Policy and State Action

  • Susie M. Jacobs
  • Tracey Howard


This chapter will examine aspects of state policy towards black women in independent Zimbabwe. Although the woman question in state policy making is intertwined with more general social, economic and political questions, there are nevertheless areas of State policy which are specifically gender-based and which bear separate examination. These areas include laws affecting women’ female participation in production, fertility and the recent ‘clean-up’ campaigns.


Black Woman Rural Woman African Woman State Machinery State Policy Making 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    B.N. Ong, ‘Women in the transition to socialism in sub-Saharan Africa’, in B. Munslow (ed.), Africa’s Problems in the Transition to Socialis. (London: Zed. Press, November 1985).Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    For debates concerning the definition of ‘production’, or ‘socially productive’ work, see, for instance, M. O’Brien, The Politics of Reproductio. (Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981)Google Scholar
  3. F. Edholm, O. Harris and K. Young, ‘Conceptualising Women’, Critique of Anthropolog., vol. 3, no. 9 (1977).Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    See, for example, J. May, Zimbabwean Women in Customary and Colonial La. (Edinburgh: Holmes McDougall Ltd, 1983)Google Scholar
  5. N. Makamure, ‘Women and Revolution: the Women’s Movement in Zimbabwe’, Journal of African Marxist., no. 6 (1984) pp. 74–86.Google Scholar
  6. 20.
    See, for instance, E. Wilson, Women and the Welfare Stat., (London: Tavistock, 1977).Google Scholar
  7. 22.
    Government of Zimbabwe, Ministry of Manpower, Planning & Devel-opment, National Manpower Surve. (1981) vol. III, Harare, extracted from Table 10.3.14, p. 197 and Table 10.3.15, p. 198.Google Scholar
  8. 23.
    D.G. Clarke, Agricultural and Plantation Workers in Rhodesi., (Gweru, Zimbabwe: Mambo Press, 1977) p. 28. Clarke noted that in 1977, 23.3 per cent of agricultural workers were women, mainly employed on a casual basis.Google Scholar
  9. 25.
    For a more extended version of this argument, see S. Jacobs, ‘Women and Land Resettlement in Zimbabwe’, ROAPE, no. 27/28 (1984) pp. 33–50.Google Scholar
  10. 26.
    S. Fawcus, ‘Letter from a European doctor in Zimbabwe’, International Campaign for Abortio., Sterilisation & Contraception Newslette., April 1981.Google Scholar
  11. 28.
    J.M. Bujra, ‘Postscript: Prostitution, Class and State’, in C. Sumner (ed.), Crime, Justice and Underdevelopmen. (London: Heinemann, 1982) pp. 145–161.Google Scholar
  12. 33.
    D. Patel, ‘Squatting: A Problem, or a Solution’, SCAD, no. 7 (1984) p. 5. It is interesting that the integrity of squatter families was acknowledged: statements were made to the effect that squatter families were not to be split up.Google Scholar
  13. To the authors’ knowledge, there is no discussion in the Zimbabwean press as to the differing effects of the imposition of customary law upon Shona, Ndebele and Tonga societies. All of A.K.H. Weinrich’s work, however, carefully considers the different positions of the three groups in different settings. Of particular interest to the readers may be her analysis of divorce. See, for example, A.K.H. Weinrich, Women and Racial Discrimination in Rhodesi. and A.K.H. Weinrich, African Marriage in Zimbabw. (Gweru, Zimbabwe: Mambo Press, and Edinburgh: Holmes McDougall, 1982). In the article by J. Mpofu, (see n. 15 above) useful points are made about the historically different property rights of women within these different groups.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Haleh Afshar 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susie M. Jacobs
  • Tracey Howard

There are no affiliations available

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