INVESTING IN GENDER EQUALITY THROUGH EFFECTIVE PROPERTY AND INHERITANCE RIGHTS IN ZIMBABWE
Gender is a word that brings mixed emotions simply because the concept is not easily understood by many. At one of the sites where WLSA implemented a project, participants stated that they did not want the “gender” preached about by a certain organization. The WLSA concept of gender had to be different. As we pondered over this in our organization, we realized that sometimes we take the concept of gender for granted. We assume that just because we understand the concept and live it every day, everyone should follow suit. We concluded that perhaps it is the way that gender is discussed that causes people to take positions some of which are radical.
Any training or discussion on gender should be a participatory process. We call it bringing gender close to home. The end process should be about everyone reflecting on gender and the impact it has on their daily lives- including the lives of their children and extended family before taking the debate to the national level.
Gender has an impact on property and inheritance rights in so many ways. In Zimbabwe although the current Constitution advocates distribution of land on a 50/50 basis, the reality on the ground is that ownership is skewered in favour of men. Zimbabwean society is highly unequal in terms of access to and ownership of resources. From the research that WLSA has conducted since 1987, we have realized that it is critical to promote gender equality so that we address the challenges associated with cultural practices, attitudes, beliefs and patriarchy that hinder women from accessing their property and inheritance rights. Demystifying the concept of gender is one of the strategies.
We expect that this gender guide will be a step closer in bringing the concept of gender home. Although we have discussed the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, The AU Protocol on the rights of Women in Africa and the National Gender Policy, that are seemingly far removed from bread and butter issues, all these impact on our daily lives.
The guide is a useful resource to all those interested in gender issues at national, regional and international levels.
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