Poverty among female headed households in Matabeleland South Province in Zimbabwe: A perennial problem or an enlightening experience?
Women’s poverty levels are at the centre of political discussions around the world as governments are at work in trying to put in place poverty alleviation plans and policies that may be for development. However, most of these plans fail to take into account the complex relationship between gender and poverty. While many women empowerment campaigns focus on offering younger women education and job opportunities, only a few campaigns focus on women whose lives are rooted in the rural areas and with family responsibilities weighing heavily on their shoulders. These campaigns usually focus on food hand-outs only and this does not solve the root causes of their poverty. It is in this vein that this study investigated the causal factors of poverty within female headed households in Matabeleland South province, Zimbabwe. This study used a qualitative research methodology to collect and analyse the data. The findings of the study were that, due to the country’s declining economic development and stultification, women have a double burden of responsibility with numerous challenges such as unequal wages in hired labour, inadequate food for the family as well as patriarchal relations that determine who should be more powerful amongst the different genders.
Keywords: Poverty, Patriarchy, patriarchal relations, Gender