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NGOs, gender, culture and multiculturalism: a Zimbabwean view.

Authors
  • Chitsike, C
Type
Published Article
Journal
Gender and development
Publication Date
Feb 01, 1995
Volume
3
Issue
1
Pages
19–24
Identifiers
PMID: 12159817
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

An African woman working for Oxfam in Zimbabwe considers the role of gender injustice in her own work and life. She has encountered discrimination among her colleagues, and she was introduced to the concept that women are inferior when she was in elementary school. When she worked as a nurse, she learned that oppression takes many forms and is maintained by social systems. Consequently, it is almost impossible to counter single-handed. Therefore, she undertook a program of study in adult education which emphasizes working within democratic frameworks in programs based on the concerns of the learners. This led her to realize that it is accepted that women are globally subordinate and that subordination is rooted in customs. Many women will, therefore, defend the injustice in their own lives by stating that it is "cultural." Whereas Northern activists may condemn a custom as barbaric and requiring immediate change, cultural change must progress gradually in order to give women the impetus to keep what is positive and reject what is negative in their cultures. This process of change can be fostered by popular education and by providing exposure to women who can act as role models. Popular education also takes multiculturalism into account and reveals the necessity to trust development workers. A multi-faceted approach is needed in order to challenge culture and promote social change.

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