Original Research - Special Collection: Religion and Theology and Constructions of Earth and Gender

Poverty with a feminine face: Theologising the feminisation of poverty in Mutasa District, Zimbabwe

Peter Masvotore, Lindah Tsara
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 3 | a8066 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i3.8066 | © 2023 Peter Masvotore, Lindah Tsara | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 August 2022 | Published: 17 January 2023

About the author(s)

Peter Masvotore, Institute for Theology and Religion, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Lindah Tsara, Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy, Faculty of Arts Culture and Heritage, Zimbabwe Open University, Harare, Zimbabwe


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Abstract

The dissection of work based on biological sex orientation amid non-remunerated and remunerated work reduces females frugally and socially to become extra susceptible towards remaining poor and poorer in the society. This division is engineered by family, individual, communal and financial predicaments, especially those emanating from the cultural background, partisan and racial struggle circumstances or disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic. In Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe, women are marginalised and excluded by social discrimination and poverty, hence the call for action by the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Action is required specifically from the areas, such as education and environment, among others, to empower women to improve their situations or to develop communities and the country as a whole. Actions aimed at reducing impoverishment in society are perilous; hence, the Zimbabwean government decided to give preference to women in economic empowerment strategies and to advance acts that support monetary constitutional rights. While both men and women are susceptible to poverty, gender discrimination makes women to be more vulnerable to poverty and have meagre incomes to survive impoverishment. Women are always the last to feed, they are also usually the last to sleep and the first to wake up, they are the disadvantaged to get healthcare facilities and they are stuck in laborious, voluntary household chores from time to time. Unfortunately, some are left with no option and engage in prostitution as a means to survive. Using purposive sampling and cultural feminist lens, this study problematises the feminisation of poverty in Zimbabwe, using Mutasa community, particularly villages 4 and 30, as a case study to see how women alleviate poverty through mukando/marounds. The main argument presented in this study is that poverty must not have a feminine face; hence, the labels that synonymise scarcity with femininity must be eradicated.

Contribution: This study contributes to the ongoing academic studies on the feminisation of poverty, using Mutasa district in Zimbabwe as a case study. It concludes by restating that the feminisation of poverty is a product of a flawed cultural system that denies women opportunities for realising their full potential.


Keywords

district; feminisation; Manicaland; mukando; Mutasa; poverty; province; Zimbabwe

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

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