Zimbabwean women believe wife beating is OK (5)
It is not news that women in many developing and even some developed
countries still experience lower status than men. So it is not sur-
prising to see claims of women saying that wife beating is OK or non-
use of condoms is fine as well, while women know their husbands are
having extra marital affairs - which means different things to dif-
ferent women. For some it would mean the end of the marriage, for
others it would mean safer sex while for some either choices would
not be an option depending on their status within marriage.
Gender power balance, socio-economic issues, education among other
factors in and outside the home determine what women find acceptable
or not. More importantly sexual negotiations will not always favour
the opinions of women within the marriage especially if they are de-
pendence on their husbands financially and emotionally.
I think studies should look at how to empower women to say no to do-
mestic violence, express their sexual preferences without fear of
breaking their marriages etc., etc.
A study I conducted in rural Western Kenya (1998) for my PhD thesis,
on the effects women's status on fertility related behaviour among
married couples (Status measured in terms of financial independence,
levels of education, no. of sons as well as perceived status etc.)
found that those women who had no financial independence, had no
sons, no education etc., enjoyed a lower status within and outside
marriage than their counterparts. Indeed those women were also happy
to be in polygamous marriage and occasionally experienced domestic
So the findings in Zimbabwe are not new and there is a long way to go
before we can say that women are in the same power position as men.
I settle my case.
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