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AFRO-NETS> Zimbabwean women believe wife beating is OK (5)

Zimbabwean women believe wife beating is OK (5)
Dear readers,
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.
Good day,
Faith Mwangi-Powell

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