Department of Development Studies, Zimbabwe Open University,
Mutare, Manicaland, Zimbabwe
Sunungurai Dominica Chingarande
Zimbabwe Ezekikl Guti University (ZEGU),
Department of English, School of Human and Social Sciences, University of Venda,
Thohoyandou, South Africa
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The economic and social dimensions of the Zimbabwean crisis were likely to overburden women with finding ways to supplement or substitute husbands’ lost incomes due to declining formal employment while at the same time they faced a slowly recovering social service delivery system. This compromised their chances of socio-economic empowerment, which is a broad concept that may refer to their access to and control of resources as well as bargaining power over decisions affecting their lives. When many companies were closing down or downsizing their operations during the crisis, the few women in the formal sector were more likely to lose their jobs or to remain at the same level since men are often treated more favourably than women. Heather Mutemeri and Dick Ranga will use a case study of one of the private industries that survived the crisis (life insurance) to examine the extent to which gender discrimination exists and at what levels. Preface Muniya and Dick Ranga will then provide a contrasting case of gender equality in the promotion of workers in the judiciary sector, which is one of the government departments that remained a major formal employer. This second article will evaluate government’s adherence to gender equality policies and international conventions as an employer. Tarisai Gwaure and Dick Ranga will revert to rural women particularly barriers to their socio-economic empowerment.
The abuse or ill-treatment of maids most of who are girls or young women from disadvantaged family backgrounds will be the focus of the fourth article by Dick Ranga. This phenomenon is likely to be on the increase in Zimbabwe as some employers of maids struggle under economic hardships while others take advantage of the maids’ plight and rape them for gifts. Munyaradzi Mukanganise and Dick Ranga focus on a related issue which is likely to increase due to economic difficulties in the country that is, unplanned pregnancies in institutions of tertiary education. This would ruin young women’s chances of ever making it in life and some of them would contract Sexually Transmitted Illnesses (STIs) such as HIV/AIDS in the process. Finally, Dick Ranga will evaluate the empowerment effects of one of the strategies that has often been regarded as the panacea to women’s socio-economic empowerment that is, micro-credit. These proposed articles will be relevant to policy makers and development practitioners including government departments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) some of who focus on women’s empowerment.