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Terms of Reference - Zimbabwe Women's Economic Empowerment Study
Oxfam

Application Deadline: 21 August 2013 (5pm)

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Background

Women’s economic empowerment appears to be an elusive goal in Zimbabwe despite the recognition of its importance by the government, women’s organizations and other development partners. An analysis of the context conducted by Oxfam shows that the face of poverty remains predominantly female in both urban and rural areas. Although initiatives by government and development partners have been made since the country’s independence in 1980, including the attempted setting up of a women’s bank and various women’s cooperatives, women still remain at the bottom of the economic ladder. Women’s challenges in achieving economic empowerment are rooted in structural patriarchy issues. Due to patriarchy, Zimbabwe remains a male dominated society in all its aspects – economic, political and social. Women face high levels of violence both in the private and public spaces which affects their economic participation. Political representation of women remains low, thereby limiting the influence and voice that women have in allocating, accessing and controlling economic resources. The burden of diseases such as HIV has significantly affected women, who are unpaid care workers, while themselves having lower access to healthcare due to limited economic resources. The country has a high maternal mortality rate that affects the economically active women. The period of economic decline that Zimbabwe went through from 2000 until 2009, affected women adversely for instance by eroding their savings and driving them deeper into poverty.

The concept of economic empowerment itself has remained shrouded in mystery and confusion. Women appear to be at different levels of empowerment, implying that empowerment may mean different things for different women, based on their geographical location, education, class, access to opportunities and supporting structures. A power analysis reflecting the different types of power that women hold would add clarity to defining the notion of economic empowerment. This power may reside in legal provisions, kinship relations, community arrangements or through age and cultural values, this power, though little documented and understood may hold currency in understanding better the landscape of women’s economic empowerment.

Because of the centrality of women’s economic empowerment in achieving other women’s rights such as voice, participation and leadership, Oxfam seeks to contribute to women’s economic empowerment in Zimbabwe. An analysis of available information and initiatives on women’s economic empowerment is required together with a comprehensive overview of the policy environment .From the findings of the study Oxfam expects to be informed about women’s economic empowerment models that work well in Zimbabwe and the priority areas for investing in women’s economic empowerment.

Find out more
- MS Word version - (131KB)
- Acrobat PDF version - (27KB)

If you do not have the free Acrobat reader on your computer, download it from the Adobe website by clicking here.

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