Women in Zimbabwe
For decades the women of Zimbabwe have endured being subordinate to men. They have yearned to be equal and be on the same level as men. However, they still seem to be the baby bearers, the cooks, and the field workers. Women have never had equal rights in Zimbabwe and they have never spoken up loud enough for their voices to be heard. Historically women have followed their duties without speaking a word about it.
In 1996 the Zimbabwean constitution was changed so that women would have equal rights (Walter). They finally became a legal adult at the age of 18 as opposed to the start of their period. Women can now own land; however they still are not given land or much of anything. Women still are suburbanite so men and are still out of work or working for little pay in a field. The history of women's rights has had very little change over the years.
Sadly Zimbabwe is the second highest nation infected with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS. Why are so many people infected with AIDS? Simply because of economic, social and cultural factors have contributed to the problem (CNN). According to UNICEF this problem needs to be taken care of immediately or they are going to be very few people left in Zimbabwe (UNICEF).
It is extremely hard for the people of Zimbabwe to afford medical treatment because there are few jobs and the cost of living is so high. The lives of Zimbabwe's women are not lives anymore, but a series of agonising decisions. Do we pay a bill or feed our children? Do we buy a bra or get soap, shampoo and toothpaste for the family? They have to ask the question, can they afford to keep themselves clean this month. A pack of 10 sanitary towels is the equivalent of almost 7 loaves of bread, so for a woman with hungry children at home, the decision about what to buy is non existent. The same applies to toothpaste, vaseline, deodorant, talcum powder, shampoo and even soap.
Violence against women is also very common in Zimbabwe. The type of violence that women experience is psychological, physical, sexual abuse, and economic disempowering acts. Much abuse stems from myths. For example, if a man who is suffering from the HIV/AIDS virus has sex with a virgin, he will be cured. This myth subjects girls at a young age (as young as eight) to rape. Considering that there are no harsh punishments for offenders, violence continues. While it is impossible to generalise, it is fair to say that girls and women in Africa are discriminated against in public and private, which limits their ability to make informed decisions about their lives. They often have little control over their access to health services, especially those dealing with reproductive and sexual health. They are denied an education on an equal footing with their brothers; and are, on the whole, economically dependent, particularly since they are often denied access to education, training and employment opportunities. Very few African women are involved in policy formulation or decision-making.