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Women and Power in ZimbabwePromises of Feminism$
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Carolyn Martin Shaw

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039638

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039638.001.0001

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Promises of Freedom and Feminism

(p.167) Chapter 5 Reflections
Women and Power in Zimbabwe

Carolyn Martin Shaw

University of Illinois Press

This book has investigated feminism's contribution to women's power/empowerment as well as conventional feminine powers in Zimbabwe. It has argued that feminism, the development of consciousness of sexism and the willingness to join with others to end discrimination against women, is not always quiet. Sometimes it is very much evident as in the liberation war or in street protests. At other times it is unobtrusive, as in women's inklings that something is wrong at work, without having the words to name that something. The book has also addressed cruel optimism as a promise of a future good life that is thwarted by the political economy, state spectacles of violence, and conventional attachments. This concluding chapter reflects on some of the important lessons that can be learned about middle-class women in Zimbabwe, and more specifically on the promises of freedom and feminism. It suggests that feminism stirs the promise of a better life, but the economy, politics, and society often do not conjoin to realize that promise.

Keywords:   feminism, women's power, Zimbabwe, sexism, discrimination, cruel optimism, political economy, middle-class women, freedom, women's empowerment

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