Femininities amongst resident female students at the University of Zimbabwe
Ndlovu, Sitheni V.
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This chapter is a result of research that was carried out at University of Zimbabwe, based on resident female students’ responses to questions and discussions on gender equity, democracy and human rights. This research indicates that the institutions of higher learning are not always the places of tranquillity, rational debate and free exchange of ideas as portrayed by the gatekeepers of the images of these institutions. The University of Zimbabwe is complex as it embodies different kinds of discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religion and class. The voices and experiences of resident female students have been highlighted to analyse and explain their navigation of the university system and Zimbabwean society as a whole. The extent of gender equity, democracy and human rights at the University of Zimbabwe is discussed, largely based on female students’ responses to questions and discussions with the writer of this chapter. Also highlighted is their understanding of the deteriorating economic environment in Zimbabwe, which, according to them, is the major reason for a lot of hardships that student women have had to deal with in their lives. They partly attribute the erosion of gender equity, democracy and human rights at the university to the troubled economic environment in Zimbabwe. The research largely dwells on issues of accommodation, student politics and other problems that are experienced by female students who have varying class, religious and ethnic backgrounds. The women’s experiences are juxtaposed to those of their male counterparts.